Monday

Rangitoto, mon amour - the extinct volcano in Auckland harbor that many artists have drawn and painted, though none have had the wonderful Joy Spill pose next to the majestic island. Rangitoto and the harbor exert a strong spiritual significance in the new novel in the Jaded Trilogy: The Jaded Spy with soon to be announced release dates.

Wednesday

Just out: The Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith and a cup of coffee at Books and Books at the Arsht Center, Miami. Support your local bookstore!

Saturday


Excerpt from The Jaded Spy.


When Alexander was a pimple-faced teenage virgin, he had read Ian Fleming. He had dreamt of being a spy. He did not have enough time to think about what Catelin had said. He had thought he was going to be fired, then the comment about his break-up and all his girlfriends put him at a disadvantage. What girlfriends? Then he was offered a job as a spy. Alexander did not have the foresight to consider why he was being chosen for this assignment. He should have asked “Why me?” But he only thought about the interview much later, and by then it was too late.

Nick Spill. The Jaded Spy release date to be announced soon.

Monday


Andrea Camilleri 1922 - 2019

Andrea Camilleri died last month after creating one of the most popular and memorable Detective characters, Salvo Montalbano, in modern fiction. He started writing the series in his late 60's and still has two more to be released after his death at 93. 

I can't wait to read the last two - as a substitute I just reread one of his later and one of his best stories, A Beam of Light. Now I have to eat some of his favorite Sicilian dishes! If you read his books you'll know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday


My meditation on returning to New Zealand and presenting a talk at the Auckland Art Gallery.




REFLECTIONS ON THE TRANZALPINE 

Kiwis, art, death, coffee, burning books and sex.

Nick Spill writes about his return to New Zealand to give a talk at the Auckland Art Gallery. On the TranzAlpine train, he reflects on the Cambridge Five, Nicolas Poussin, Peter Wells, James Bond, Yukio Mishima, Geoff Dyer, Martin Edmund, Patti Smith and Dashiell Hammett, not to mention the murder of Simon Buis, Chekhov’s and his own gun. He reveals for the first time what happened to the Mildura catalog where his photos were featured and how they were burned, and he tells stories about many famous Kiwi artists, including Rita Angus, Andrew Drummond, Claire Fergusson, Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Raymond McIntyre, and Cliff Whiting. He includes photographs from his original art work of the 1970s and his journey through New Zealand in 2019. As a famous young lady once said before she saw a white rabbit; what is the use of a book without pictures? 

Join Nick Spill on a trip down the rabbit hole, downunder.



Tuesday

Godard's CONTEMPT with Brigitte Bardot


Watching Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 New Wave movie CONTEMPT last night on TMC reminded me how my parents used to take me to every French film at the LIDO in Auckland in the '60's. My mother loved Truffaut, my father was baffled by some of the films but always managed to say at the most inappropriate time: "Well at least I got to see a bit of tit." He would have loved Brigitte Bardot in CONTEMPT. Godard seems obsessed with her naked bottom. We see her spread out on her stomach on the red sofa, the white shag pile carpet, naked in Capri. Her buttocks must have appeared like landscape art shot in glorious Cinemascope. I wonder if modern day actresses would pose like this now?

CONTEMPT was not my favorite Godard film, I appreciated BREATHLESS and the original ONE PLUS ONE, now repackaged in its 4K - 50th Anniversary Edition as SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. Witnessing in real time the chaos in creating this track in a studio, how the Stones worked,  far surpassed any Marxist posturing that was inserted into the film and that was designed to give the rock documentary a veneer of French intellectual pomposity.

I resolve to revisit Alberto Moravia's novels, including CONTEMPT, TWO WOMEN, THE CONFORMIST and many others that were turned into films and that I read as library books when I was a young teenager eager to learn what adults got up to in their free time.

Sunday

The blind Chinese fiddle player in downtown Auckland

Geoff Dyer in his brilliant contemplation on photography, THE ONGOING MOMENT, talks about early 20th Century street photography and the obligatory blind accordion player. In New Zealand, Leon Smith​ and Nick Spill​ found a blind Chinese fiddle player on the corner of Queen Street and Commerce Street in downtown Auckland. Notice he is impeccably dressed unlike some the players captured by the likes of Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Andre Kertesz, Bruce Davidson and Ed Clark. (Note to self: we ain't in that esteemed collection of photographers.)