Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I am granted my freedom

A great relief! I have not been asked back to my job teaching at a local high school.That means I don't have to leave.The decision has been made! The door is opening. I see a small slot of light.It is the teacher waiting in her room.The room is fragrant,like Christ,like blessed Allah himself.
I am on the plane to Wellington.I meet a lovely woman called Liz, who notices that I am reading The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle. We talk easily about this way of being-some call it mindfulness,others Zen,still others (like myself) living in the present.It turns out she is using it in her practice as a counsellor. This goes out to you Liz, very nice to have met you. Bless you in your work.
Then I am in Queenstown, strolling the promenade, hearing the Spanish,the American, the Mandarin. I  excitedly tell a Chinese family from Shanghai that my great grandfather Huang Ah Poo Hoc Ting came from Shanghai. They look at me as if I am trying to sell them something,seeming somewhat surprised to strike up conversation with a New Zealander.
Which reminds me of a story.I had an art student a few years back,a recent migrant from China.I told her with great pride that my great grandfather was Chinese.She looked at me suspiciously and blurted out  "You don't look Chinese!"
This is my great grandad (on the left) and my great grandma Ellen Snooks

Me posing in front of a random glacier,showing my obvious Chinese genes
Its a strange place Queenstown. Not unfriendly,I was quite happy with the place. You do get the feeling that tourists 'own' the place. In the sense that they feel at ease there and dominate the public spaces. I met 2 kiwis in a week of shopping and encounters at various kiosks,information centres etc.Just interesting to observe-no judgements here.Actually I prefer their attitude to the sense of entitlement that kiwi shop owners often project.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

At the risk of being the party pooper,This is Wellington,not Middle Earth!

The other day I flew into Middle Earth or should I say Wellington Airport. I passed by a giant figure of something I should know-Gollum?.I collected my luggage from the Hobbit baggage collection centre and caught a Bus to Middle Earth Railway station.
A few days later,in a surreal chain of events I found myself 20 metres from the stars of the Hobbit as they alighted their shiny cars to the screams of the crowd-this was Courtenay Place in Wellington city. I felt one of the crowd, my son on my shoulders;one of the cast,sharing in their glory, rubbing a bit of gold off them onto me.Only problem was I didn't know any of them.I'm not sure that the crowd did either,but they just as happily cheered and held up their camera phones.The other weird part of this story is that the movie hasn't even come out yet.In an unprecedented move, merchandising is in full swing before the movie has come out.  I've seen T-shirts in the Warehouse, posters,models, swords and a whole lot more besides.Here in Queenstown, where I'm staying on holiday,there is a Hobbit horse trek.Its not visiting movie set  locations.Its just riding horses. Not accidentally though, there are LOTR movie set locations near here.People are talking as if they have seen the Hobbit Movie,saying how great it all is.Has anyone seen it yet? Nope.Um, what if its a lemon, I asked my children.What, dad? You party pooper! You are just jealous blah blah...... its ok dad,its gonna be awesome!
Before I break into my Bored of the Rings eulogy-I withstood a full screening of the first movie- I had better be fair minded about it all. Ok I don't like it. Peter Jackson hasn't made a good movie since the one about the girls who murdered their mother..But it has done good things for NZ.It has for the few thousand who work on it and it must inject money into the local (Wellington) economy.But the government has backed these movies made by Sir Peter. That means New Zealand citizens.We still pay full price for tickets,which goes to show that we dont mind being ripped off,as long as we're made famous in the process.And being strung along we are.Yes thats right; 3 movies of the Hobbit. You have to see them all.That's like going for a burger and being charged 3 times- for the bun, then the meat,then the filling.
The other thing that concerns me is that the movie industry is notably fickle.Its here today gone tomorrow. Peter Jackson himself said that movie making companies are right now competing for movies to be made in their countries,and governments are subsidising their efforts.Should we be investing so heavily in this industry? Probably; every other industry seems precariously sitting on the ledge.Even new Zealands pride and joy Fonterra could go down the tubes on the global dairy market. As John Key rightly pointed out though,no one can compete with New Zealand on Location.We have stunning natural places as yet unspoilt by humans.
Its almost an act of treason to say you don't like LOTR..All very worrying crowd behaviour if you ask me.

Two of my children,Ina and Toby on a Hobbit location high above Queenstown
Tonight I'm walking my children and their mother down to the local Queenstown cinema where they will queue up and join in the fun and excitement of the first showing of the Hobbit.Good on them.I did the same for the Harry Potter opening. It will be a fabulous movie.How could I think otherwise?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Art events coming up........

Art cruise the Marlborough Sounds
New Zealand
17th-20th January 2013
with your tutor Duncan Hill

Come aboard.....
For artists who have begun their creative journey and want to extend or deepen their confidence and competence, who love nature and the outdoors and who want time to get into art without interruption.
This will be a ‘working holiday’ you will never forget: a three day creative journey into the pristine Marlborough Sounds aboard a chartered motor launch.

Sailing into coves and sounds that know no roads-getting some serious art tips or be left alone-its up to you. Guided by a friendly, encouraging and experienced artist and tutor who allows you the space to develop your own art without overt interference, but who is there to help you when needed.  All without the huge price tag and the overseas travel that a comparable art tour might involve.

What you will find………..
Feel alive and enthusiastic about your art, gaining more confidence in handling your chosen media, visual notetaking and drawing/painting from real life observation.

Newfound sharpened awareness and ways of seeing,

You’ll feel inspired, relaxed and invigorated by the dramatic and beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound.

An enjoyable experience of working together in a small supportive group.

And you will have made some lasting friendships!
About Duncan Hill
Duncan Hill has been making art, writing, teaching and building and for over 20 years. He creates art and word works for people who want to understand, reflect on and celebrate life. In his teaching capacity Duncan has been teaching art in a classroom setting and with adults and children  since 1991.More specifically he has tutored drawing and painting in a variety of media. He enjoys the interaction with people and walking in with them in their creative travels.
Duncan also enjoys time in the wilderness, being a keen tramper and outdoorsman. He has previous knowledge of and love for the Marlborough Sounds having lived there for periods of time during the 80s and 90s and returns there as often as he can.
For more of Duncan’s work see

What people have said
“What I gained is to use drawing as a way to relax and express a creative side in myself. Duncan is hugely supportive of that and somehow miraculously makes it possible for all in the course to create most beautiful art work. My way of looking at things changed and I see a great more detail. I also started enjoying working with different materials and discovered that ink is one of my favourites”.
Maria Borovnik

I really enjoyed Duncan’s art classes - he creates a positive learning environment with a relaxed atmosphere..

He brings energy and creative enterprise to his classes, along with honed adult teaching skills, coupled with an intrinsic understanding of the learning and creative process. As a tutor he instills in his students a passion for art and gives them the confidence and encouragement to seek their inner artist”.
Lyn Nikoloff

For more information and registration forms contact Duncan Hill          06 3637575        mob 0272623666

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sustainable people

A little while back we contributed to a web video resource about 'sustainability' (whatever that means!)
Anyway its good because its pretty down to earth (no pun intended)conversations about stuff thats a bit more sensible than the rife, rapacious, market-driven gobbledegook we are saturated with.
Love youse all

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Transformers (a poem)

I says to my son:
Well its basically about
Mostly bad transformers
Trying to beat up good transformers
And kill everyone in the world
And take it over
And he says
Well, I like that dad

Monday, 29 October 2012

Uncollege forever

Yesterday I caught a young American dude on the radio talking about real education in a way that was both refreshing and comforting.He's begun a kind of social movement called Uncollege. Its really an unschoolers manifesto: give a human a chance to go their own direction,doing what they love and you'll find a happier person with motivation to burn,contributing to society using their innate an developed talents.And all this outside of the tertiary education system where in American the average student debt is $60,000-and ours not far behind. Refreshing because it was a change from the numbed out uncreative monologues of the Ministry of Education,who all advocate more and earlier testing,staying at school longer and starting it earlier.He spoke eloquently of the"12 year prison sentence" that is school.The fact that schools were set up for the industrial age factory workers to teach them how to do a repetitive task,meet deadlines and follow orders.And now there isnt even those type of jobs out there.Not that I.see school as feeder for the workplace.The paradox is that teacher charters (I still belong to an organisation of teachers!) all say how its all about the individual and child-centred learning blah blah. Meanwhile at school the same people fixated with power and control are magnetised into the profession,where they proceed to live out their neurosis with the blessing of the system.
Comforting for me because it reflects my and other's views and confirms that humans, somewhere, somehow are alive and well and waiting for everyone else to wake up.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

I wonder if you could donate a painting?......

Artists get asked to donate an artwork for fundraising-the practice has always been there-but it has a few questions around it for me.Though artists are usually pretty willing and generous,most aren't wealthy benefactors. Ever met a rich artist?
 You don't get people asking accountants or builders or rest home workers to donate something. So how come? Anyway,I'll not moan too long, but I'd like to see a bit of fairness here. Here's a solution: Ask your local ............. (pick someone who makes a bit of dosh) to buy an artwork,and then he/she donates it to the worthy cause. That way you still get the artwork but someone else takes the hit.Its going to catch on...............

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How ewe learn: a blog 4 educationalistically minded people

Educating a kid 
  1. You get a kid and you sit there,saying nothing.At this point remove any limiting beliefs such as,"I'm gonna break his spirit" or "All kids are bad unless we do something to them/for them". Ok well done. Now, listen, look and feel your feelings (a tried and true permaculture principle).Great!Almost home! 
  2. Get out of the way. 
  3. Have some resources ready. These can be people,things,tools,books.Hint: If you havent got them ready,dont panic! Make a plan to find some.
  4. Watch out for lurking populist ideas which reinforce getting what you want  while making the kid believe you are helping them eg Nigel Latta,Steve Biddulph
  5. Watch out for ideas that suggest more is better (homework and staying longer) and earlier is better (teaching babies).
  6. If they are interested show them what you are doing and how you do it.
  7. If they are not interested,you are unsuitable for this position and its better for everyone that you quietly slink away and find something else to do.
      You've done it!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Examining exams

Righto,so i think exams are dumb.To explain why I came to this view I will look at(examine haha) some of the assumptions and premises which are taken for granted.Here's the commonly held rationale behind them: You need to test what people know. Now,don't teachers spend time with students?Ask any teacher around mid year,mid semester-do you know what your students know?I have asked; most know what they know.They have spent time with them.Once apon a time that's just what teachers did.They were entrusted and trained to do just that-see how students are going and work with them to assist them and mentor them .Now we have a 'low trust' model operating-its not enough for you to know your students and them you.
The second rationale is you need to have a pressure cooker system to make people learn better.Why do we create a stressful exam environment,with clocks ticking and success linked to them? If we want to test for how well we do under stress,why dont we say that?Why link it to the subject? It could be a subject in its own right-How to Solve Problems Under Strict Deadlines. Somehow we got to the insanity we have in the school system (and beyond) where we mistake learning for solving problems against time.There is no evidence that anxiety improves learning-on the contrary there is plenty of evidence to show that anxiety makes learning, thinking and doing harder.And for many if not for all,exams are anxiety producing.
The third rationale behind exams is that you should try and catch students out by 'surprises"- another cruel ploy by a system that fails to understand why and how people learn.Catching them out may reassure insecure teachers of the fact that they know something that students don't,but it doesn't have anything to do with learning.More erroneous beliefs are that learning is associated with discomfort,punishment,force or coercion.
I don't support assessment of any kind anymore.It drives down morale and self esteem,most people know their strengths and weaknesses very well.Teachers use it to what I call 'negatively teach'-the weird belief that pointing out failures and mistakes is the role of the teacher,and that they will do better if they are told.Mostly I've seen this when its used exclusively as a teaching strategy.The light goes out from the students' eyes and pretty soon they give up (inside). An analogy: Its like felling a tree in the forest to make it grow better.
An anecdote from a friend whose son recently delved into his favourite Classics subject.He loved it; its his passion. He produced an amazing document for a project but was told he only 'achieved' and did not gain 'excellence' (the New Zealand School system classifies work in terms of not achieved,achieved,merit or excellence) because his project was too long.That sort of petty meddling makes me really angry,especially because the odds are so high that this fellow will now feel deflated and lose interest in a subject he formerly loved.
One reason to support assessment is that an employer or a third party who wants to know something about a student can look at formal bits of paper and get an idea of their strengths etc.
My son has been mesmerised into thinking that he might not know anything about a subject-depending on how well he does in his exams-despite the fact that he his at the top of this particular class! Wak!! What the hell?Dont get your hopes up,it might be all dashed on the rocks! The end result is the mantra "don't trust what you know,you might be wrong"

Friday, 24 August 2012

Westpac theft: the real story

Funny story 1.Guy and girl find $10 million accidentally in Westpac bank account.Couple jumps on plane to Aussies and beyond, Eventually get caught and given a conviction and sentence (over 4 years for the guy).Some public outcry over the lenient sentences for 'theft'.
Funny story 2: Bank gets deposit from Joe and Josie Public.Bank lends out 20 times the amount and in effect and in reality creates money out of thin air.The amount of money is increased and it's inflationary,as it doesn't stand for anything.People are in catchup mode and the environment must be pillaged to account for the the discrepancy.Worse,the interest on the loan means its even more to add to the money supply,and everyone is forced to 'grow' to keep up.
No one goes to jail.No one gets accused of 'theft'
Funny story 3: Huge NZ company pays no tax by hiding money overseas and making an impossible paper trail to cover their tracks.The country has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and this loss is borne by every citizen.Company director receives public recognition for making a big business and employing alot of people.No one is accused of or charged for 'theft'.
If you want to understand how this can be, check out or read Dierdre Kent's book Healthy Money,Healthy Planet or if you're more audio listen to this podcast interview on Radio NZ Kim Hill's programme.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Every home should have a dome.My bias toward giant carbon molecule structures clearly shown.I could have built a more modest firewood shed.My mates Gary (with the fez) and Dean helping out.

My son Ben's hand.An experiment with fluorescent paint and UV light

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Voting for change.My experience in standing for a local electricity company board

I had a go at nominating nyself for the board of  a locally owned power company,Electra.I was quite pleased to get 1450 votes-out of a total of around 10,000 votes spread over 6 candidates.That equates to around 24%-a typical voter turnout at local body and even general elections.Thank you for believing in my voice.
I'm pretty sure that the people who dont vote are the ones who do worst out of the status quo-they believe in their powerlessness.And I'd be equally sure that the people who do vote have alot invested in the way things are now.Power depends on maintaining this system.I have a friend who supports everything in this culture that denigrates him;hes one of the biggest fans of the competitive,agressive economic model that we take for given.Its astounding to me.but I am so grateful for the fact that he has shown me insights into how it could be possible.He merely thinks hes not up to the job of full participation in our community,but 'they' are. They being someone elso who is able,brainy,responsible, clever, creative,knowledgeable, powerful. All the things he thinks hes not.
Anyway,sadder still (I dont want to harp on) is that a local identity famous for battling the mayor and councillors on a variety of issues,has said that I shouldnt have put 'poet' on my nomination form! Wak! So the implication is people wont vote for poets because........they are going to be flaky and idealistic and poorly organised and probably smoke weed and..............

Well, we are coming to the end of an era where our inflated view of bean counters,Bigmen (guys that have their values born of the current economic system and are mean, competitive and adversarial as a result,not afraid to be 'assertive' to get things done,good speakers,duplicitous in terms of saying one thing and doing another- things we associate with 'leadership' and 'business')are the very guys who got us in trouble. They do not  have the answers to an evolving society where new demands for power sharing,economically tenable,diverse,meaning- filled existence are being made.

 I say bring on the poets, the musicians, the fencers,the bakers,the healers,the labourers, the right brainers. Holy crap,these are exactly the people we want leading in the new age approaching us.

Footnote:We need the accountants,the list makers,the Bigmen for public speaking.We just need some other people as well,people who have experience in a wide range of fields,not just business.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Be gentle and kind or at least try

Be gentle and kind to yourself first and foremost no matter where you find yourself(though that may seem foreign if you are Christian and you were taught to help others first-an abberation of the truth).Its a piece of cake when you are humming along,the challenge is when you are low,distressed,anxious etc.Try it,it takes some focus as the other thoughts will be possibly firing in their familiar diatribe of "you will never be enough, you are unloveable, you are bad, you are wrong" etc.And when you cant seem to be heard above that and you fell depressed about that,be loving and kind to yourself for that too.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Poetry books I have written for you

I have written a couple of small poetry books.One called Mind Set Heart Felt and one called The Beginning of the World.They are $20NZ plus postage."Mind Set Heart Felt" is handwrtten (printed) and illustrated with my paintings.Its size is 150 X 150mm (CD case size) and has 16 full colour pages."The Beginning of the World" has 19 pages also lavishly adorned with paintings.These books are published by me, Hilldogg Press.As well as encouraging the new world paradigm I am talking about,they celebrate connections to each other and to the world of plants and animals and reflect sheer beauty,peace and truth wherever I found it. 
Cover "Mind Set Heart Felt"
Sample open page spread

Cover of  "The Beginning of the World"

Suicide and a sermon

A friend of mine has a friend who has just tried to kill himself.There was no help given by any 'profession',no support,nothing but an ambulance with its motor idling,waiting at the cliff base.Its not time to blame institutions(though most people are and they are feeling the pressure) or redirect funds or set up more research projects which tell us what we already know.
 Its time to step up and take the mantle given to us at birth.To act with our god-given selves and to see the power we have to reinvent this shell we call modern living. Institutions are failing,professional help is unavailable or too expensive.Tickets and ticks in boxes signifying worth and value and skill are competed for and the winner gets all;meanwhile the masses are struggling.
The problem is we dont know how to or dont know its possible to do anything ,to be anyone,without someones permission or funding or goddam credits or monicas over their names.
Its time for anarchy folks-not in the sense of destruction but in the true meaning of Chaos,the god of creativity.Hindus have a god Kali who is the caregiver of the Earth;an Indian Gaia.But the flip side of her is she is also the god of destruction. The moral message being look after the earth that literally supports us or you and many others will perish.

Be who you are,don't wait for permission.Take the opportunity now or it will be forced on us- by one giant oil price spike or environmental chain reaction or compound feedback loop by one of many sources such as financial,environmental or political.

Get together with others and grow something.Feed yourselves;an act of true anarchy!Find your healers,your thinkers,your engineers,your debaters,your growers.They are probably out there unemployed or sitting on some crap job waiting for the same thing you are: the beginning of their lives.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


                                                               Scape by Duncan Hill

This oil painting is based on photos of the moon which I am fascinated with.I have used a barren landscape and then used organic shapes  in the background.Perhaps I shouldnt say too much but leave it to you to rest your eyes on.What say you? Love to hear from you-this is my offering to humankind.

Drove across the spine of the fish yesterday- the main north south divide of the Tararua mountains.(Maori legend has the north island of our country as a fish pulled out of the ocean;wierldly,it looks like a fish from space) Its fine and clear on this western side and then across there the easterly was disturbing the mountains and throwing drizzle across my intermittent wipers.I got a feel for the way it works and for the weather patterns-easterly means rain on the east,dry here in the west;westerly means rain on the west,dry on the east.
Visited Masterton,that gaunt town.It feels depressed.It has Maori kids walking up and down the town in clouds of smoke. Meanwhile we keep up the services,the schools, the hospitals,the jails........while it all unwinds.We carry on,we are numb,but we carry on.We cant feel our own pain anymore,we keep on going.We cant read the signs.
I look up at the sky and it is breathtaking.All this happenning on the thin skin of the earth and none of it matters. And the breath is all you have,the feeling of the carseat,the field of energy in your body which you try to name or get rid of or enjoy,depending on what feeling is there.The thoughts that come and go,creating the feelings.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The school system and natural learning

Ive just been relief teaching for 4 weeks at a local secondary school which confirmed everything for me about the problems and the solutions for 'education' today.Ive been lucky (actually no luck here;I wanted to)to have been a 'natural learning' father for 17years.Others know us as unschoolers, but in the same way that theism defines athiests,I thought that using schooling in the description of what I do is a bad start.We dont 'un' anything as my children,all three of them hadnt been to a school until 2009 except for a minor stint by my daughter at a local primary school for a term I think.Plus any reference to schools is abhorent to me-think sheep going through drafting or huge numbers of people being processed.You get the idea.So I have seen both schools and,in a flourishing network of locals called Hearthland Educators and in my own home,have seen children doing their own thing in many different settings.

And what did I teach the students during my stint? Not to trust their own views,feelings,intuitions.That someone else always knows the answer ahead of you and that pleasing them is very important.That freedom of expression is bad,that you dont have freedom to eat,socialise, go to the toilet when you want which by the way join a huge list of basic human needs such as privacy, autonomy,trust, companionship with who one chooses,ability to make choices about ones life- which are also denied at school.
So how do children learn? Or should we say,how do people learn? In my experience,and in my reading of education reformers and  such as John Holt,John Taylor Gatto and Derrick Jensen, people learn when they have good reason to do so.That is it excites them,it challenges them,something cool/amazing happens that makes you do it again; and they see in the 'teacher' profound effects of the particular thing.The 'student' says I want some of that-they see hear and feel the impact on the life of the 'teacher'.I'm talking here of the master/apprentice model.I'm also talking here of the value of the child setting their own life in motion-self learning.This is a massive gap between the current thinking in schools and the successful,happy motivated learner.

A little story before I go today. During my relief teaching I met a very determined but unhappy young girl who sat up the front and who asked if she could take the text book home and copy the text into her exercise book.Upon asking if she enjoyed the subject,the girl replied no,but she was working on her weaknesses which she seemed to interpret as any subject she hated.I said to her that I thought it sad that she did this-I think I said something like learning is about having fun,curiosity and the like.At that point another teacher,who happenned to be in the room,reinforced the girls viewpoint "Its no good doing what you like or are good at-its the things that you dont like or good at which deserve your attention."
I did think a little later that they possibly interpreted my arguement as there would be no challenge in doing what you love-thats if you just recycled the same stuff day in and day out.But that doesn't stack up with anyone who did what they loved-from Einstein to Olympic high jumpers.
Anyway,its a story that remains like an epitaph to a fallen city.This is the common view at school.Also that we know what you need-you just have to remember it and recycle it when we want.

I'm going to continue next time and lay down the wero(challenge) with some real challenges for the Ministry of Education.Bye for now
With patient love

Monday, 30 April 2012

Arty things I'm doing soon........

Events i have coming soon.............Arts Trail Horowhenua.You can come to my place and look at my work,have a chat,see me working in the studio,have a cup of tea!
May 12th and 13th at my place- 50 Stewart St Foxton.Poetry books and original works for sale.
Apparently you can get maps and brochures from the Te Takere website,or HDC web.I will have a pile of them here.

If you are in Wellington the following week come down to Thistle Hall in upper Cuba St and check out some of my new work.I'm exhibiting with some other Horowhenua artists under the banner 'Roadshow Collective'14th-20th May.Have a nosey at

Duncan Hill live art performance

Here is the live art show I did last weekend April 28th at the Art on Edge in Palmerston North.It is a painting done to loud music and it takes 10 minutes to complete.have a look at a live clip Duncans live art show.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Facebook or not Facebook; o shit am I getting old?

I'm thinking about whether to go on Facebook.Well I'm in the socially embarrassing but advantageous position of not having a facebok page..Advantageous because lots of people are using it and so there's a history which I can discuss with people I know and value.A friend of mine was saying to my partner that facebook is a waste of time,full of superficial drivel.My son really likes it,although an aquaintance said his one line comments  drove him nuts made him 'unfriend' him. A big question for me is, where I am I going to take time from for this new cool thing?As each new gizmo has arrived,we have seen a corresponding decrease in the time we spend together.The time dads spend with family is abysmal. I did hear it has increased  slightly in recent years though,up to a wopping  average of something like 10 minutes a day.My kids say well what are we going to say anyway,its boring! (talking with parents) I say its not that we are going to have some riveting conversation or play an exciting game or anything neccessarily,but its just that we can be around to interract.The converse is true for computer conversations-I dont hear the conversations,unlike the ones that happen offline here.We used to be a party to the conversations of our community and family-now we are not.That's the thing that has been disturbing me;which I couldn't name for ages.You dont know who is there.The community isnt listening.Its secret. I don't want every conversation to be public-but once apon a time you knew what was going on-not so now. Also the person on the computer isnt in the room.I mean they are in body,but they aren't here.That's a loss.We don't need any more losses in the home.We need increases in time alone,time without stimulus,time to talk,to listen I'm about to be labelled "old" and written off from comment by my kids.But I'll never be written off as I have a sense of the timeless and the valuable that will have its way.
Its obviously a cool tool.For keeping in contact when you are away from friends colleagues or family.For me as an artist and a poet it could let people know what' on, it could direct them to this blog,to my website etc
But lets not overrate Facebook.People have been talking for a long time.News has always travelled fast.Web media or not.Anyway,to finish, I wrote a poem about facebook a few months back which I'll share with you now.Kind of a modern take on unrequited love.I think it should be a song- I keep hearing steel guitar and country melodies accompanying it.........

One thousand two hundred friends

One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
Even though I have eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

Ive twittered and you don’t tweet back
Ive texted chatted tried to hack
Made posts that really mattered
Ive networked myself to the bone
And you. you wont even phone

Cause I’ve got  One thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely
All the while with eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

My Eyes are tired from googling darling
Hoping you will appear on my search engine
My blackberry is out of juice
Called the help desk for a truce
Ive upgraded my peripherals twice
Made my profile nice
But you don’t even want to know me  

Cause I’ve got  One thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely
All the while with eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

Ive seen you on trade me
I’m ready to buy now baby
But youre bidding me farewell
My watchlist is saying sell  
And I’ve got  one thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely

Sunday, 25 March 2012

2 dollar shop art

I am noticing some unfortunate trends in art.The first of which is the "more is better" -you go to 'barns' crammed full of paintings,many of which are so underpriced that the artist would be making nothing.Then there is the pressure to reduce the price of the painting so that it will sell.I notice that other trades people are not asked to reduce their service costs or hourly rates for say,fixing my car,but somehow its ok to ask this of artists? Its a valid point that "well, you do want to sell it don't you?", but I am wondering if we have only seen the thin end of the wedge here.The drive for efficiency and cutting costs in our culture today also affects the art 'market' Are we going to see mass produced 'originals' produced by factories of workers somewhere in China trapped on a minimum wage producing art for us?
Unfortunate and sad that the works become worth less in terms of their value;they become a decoration open to 'market forces'.I suppose its partly because art tends to be in the main money spent after everything else-its excess disposable income.And if artists are doing it in their spare time,and its not their primary source of income,then they might be prepared to put a low price on it.
Fortunately,quality, relevance, meaning and innovation in art are still hard to find and worth every cent when you do find them.They are the rare treasures,the natural antidote to a truckload of artworks destined for the supermarket.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Say please!
The other day I realised that I had left my bag in the staffroom so I went back to get it and seeing that my seat was taken and I couldn't get my bag myself,asked in a polite voice "Could you pass me my bag?" I couldn't believe my ears when the woman sitting next to it said "Say please!" and the person next to her said "whats the magic word?". I said "I asked you politely" feeling shock and indignation at the request.
My partner informs me that 'please' comes from 'plea' which means to beg. I also have been at a shop with my children where the woman wouldn't serve my children  and berated them for not saying please.I told her that it was a transaction, and while recognising it as a cultural form of politeness, it was no indicator of rudeness if one didn't say it.Moreover, in the second scenario the shopkeeper clearly did not understand that a transaction was taking place ie money (and her livelihood) for an ice cream.If anyone needs to beg then it should be the shopkeeper.
Its one thing for saying please -and indeed 'thank you'- to be a cultural habit, and another for it to be a mandatory request which if not given the goods or services are withheld.
In the Cook Islands and many Polynesian cultures no one says please or thank you-they are mystifyed by its use as to them taking and enjoying the food or whatever is thanks.I believe in New York when ordering food one says "I'll have.........".  No 'please' demands.
Postscript: Scenario: I rudely reached right over them and grabbed my bag.

Monday, 5 March 2012

I wish I was Justin Bieber-a poem by Duncan Hill

If I was Justin Bieber I would buy an island and build a swimming pool longer than the one in Chile which is in the Guiness Book of Records and is over 15 football fields long

On second thoughts if I was Justin Bieber I would end world sickness by promoting healthy lifestyles to those poor people in Third World Countries who are basically not using proper hygiene and are in the position they are  through their own fault and I hate to say it laziness

If I was Justin Bieber I would use my position to end world poverty
I would make sure that every village in Africa had a McDonalds outlet

If I was Justin Bieber I would be so famous as to feel ok about myself and therefore avoid death by suicide or overeating

If I was Justin Bieber I would sleep better knowing that millions of people are keeping watch over me on Facebook

If I was Justin Bieber I would probably attract someone like Ange and then she could finally be free of that baby faced two- timing bastard Brad and then we would probably find ourselves in the Womens Weekly looking happy

If I was Justin Bieber I might end up in rehab or shave my head or go to the east or go gay

Actually come to think of it I hate Justin Bieber
Hes such a show off and his music sucks