Morning all – Chris is much more stable on his legs now – in fact he’s made us permanently remove the wheelchair from his room! He had a very quiet weekend, which is good ‘cos last week we overdid it and exhausted him for the following week’s therapy. He’s been playing piano and watched a film with John & Liesha. We also spent some time Beatling out to The Anthology series. Next weekend I’m going to try & set-up some sorta recording/playback system so that Chris can start getting some ideas down for the Tall Dwarfs album – or, at the minimum, to give him a creative outlet for a while. His drawing continues to improve & we get some fantastic written sentences ala ‘In His Own Write’ – I’ll stick some on the blog soon.
Hiya – I’ve had a neat last few days as more tracks for ‘Stroke’ arrive at my office. Me and a coupla friends had a listen through all the tracks I’ve received so far &, yup, it’s gunna be a goodie. One track in particular has really floored me … but I couldn’t possibly say which one now could I ….. that would be unfair.
Hopefully I’ll get all the remaining tracks in the next few weeks and then we’re into production.
Chris is doing well. Words are still difficult but walking is improving all the time. He does get very tired at times & we’re learning to read those moments to try and avoid him getting into trouble. Still lots of singing going on – in fact when he’s bored Chris does a sort of Beatle-esque scat be-bop thing and occasionally he looks at me in the expectation that I recognise a certain tune, there’s one in particular he keeps hitting me with …. but I’ve no idea. …. sounds kinda like an Italian opera to me!
We’ve been talking about finishing the Tall Dwarfs album that we were just about to complete before Chris’ stroke. Chris’s melodic sense is still intact & we think we can see a way it could work.
All the best
Hi All –
It’s been a very impressive week for Mr Knox. He’s much more communicative & he is now walking confidently with the aid of a stick. He’s had a huge surge in motivation in the last week – maybe due to his acupuncture (?), but who knows, maybe he’s just decided ‘**** it’. He’s a bit of a terror around stairs as his enthusiasm with them currently outstrips his ability. He’s also moving the fingers on his right hand and lifting his arm slightly – which is pretty amazing.
So yet again I suggest a wee quaff of yer fave is not totally out of order.
Still no luck with Bagder, thanks Barry – I’ve found out that it does exist, so no-one’s sanity is called into question any longer, but beyond that I haven’t found a copy anywhere!
New Artland (series 2) starts screening from Saturday 29th August on TVNZ 7 (Sky channel 97). This is the crazily ambitious art series that Chris was filming for the first half of this year, in which he travels NZ meeting a bunch of artists and watching/commentating/getting his jandals mucky as they make works of art with Kiwi communities.
When Chris had the stroke we only had a few days of filming left, but we still had almost all of the voice-overs to go. Bugger. However, Chris being so brilliantly eloquent throughout the filming meant we had plenty of recorded material to get the series finished. (A sample CK interview question would find him discussing an artist’s shift from “monolithic solidity to ephemeral play…”)
Without voice-over, the episodes have a slightly surreal quality that kinda suits the art. It was odd editing the series without Chris popping in every few days, but he’s seen a few of the shows now and we’re feeling good about it.
Season two’s artists are Dick Frizzell, Grahame Sydney, Virginia King, Niki Hastings-McFall, Karl Maughan, Wayne Youle, Reuben Paterson, Jacquelyn Greenbank, Seung Yul Oh, Tracey Tawhiao, Regan Gentry, Alex Monteith and Steve Carr. The artworks involve farmers, flying squads, orchestras, graffiti artists, schoolkids, tattooists, knitters, BMX riders, snowballs and Westies. Near the end of filming when I interviewed Chris for the press kit, he said: “This is unique television. Watch it to get over any fear of art you may have.”
We’re kicking the series off with a launch party and art auction on Thursday 27th August in Auckland in collaboration with TVNZ 7 & Media 7. Most of our series 1 & 2 artists are contributing pieces and proceeds raised will go to the Stroke Foundation, tagged specifically for art therapy. We’ve got a tight invite list but if anyone here is keen to spend up large on some art on the 27th, email me and we’ll try to fit you in! email@example.com.
All the best
PS Those overseas can try tvnzondemand.co.nz but we’re not sure if it works overseas.
Broadcast dates for each episode…
Wayne Youle – Where You Stay?
Dick Frizzell – Teaching a Fencepost to Paint
Niki Hastings-McFall – Polynisation
Karl Maughan – Old School
Jacquelyn Greenbank – Nina and the Nitwits
Seung Yul Oh – The Ability to Blow Themselves Up
Tracey Tawhiao – Tagging with Light
Regan Gentry – Paper Trail
Steve Carr – Snowballs
Virginia King – Pacific Stars
Grahame Sydney – Into The Nevis
Reuben Paterson – There Goes The Moon
Alex Monteith – Red Checkers
Hi – Reading the stats for the blog, we have a fairly steady readership out there – thanks to everyone for your continuing support and interest. I’m hoping one of you can help me (Sam?) – someone wants to do a cover of a song called ‘Badger’ for the album. Which is great, ‘cept we need to get a copy of the song to said artist and not only do I not know the song but I can’t track it down on any discography of Chris’. Can anyone assist?
Hiya – Last night I was floored by Chris. I’d taken along an acoustic guitar to play some songs with Chris as Don McGlashan had done it and i’d been told it was really good for Chris (good on ya Don!). Anyway I wasn’t really prepared for what Chris did – his singing was just as fantastic as ever, ok no words, but we did lots of Beatle tracks ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Bungalow Bill’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, a Velvets one, some of Chris’ songs & we even made up a chord sequence/melody on the spot – (so the musical creativity is untouched too!).
That thing that Chris can do was just THERE, if you know what I mean, and I am so f**king happy to see that that side of Chris is still intact – that amazing voice & melodic sensibility & superb phrasing & sheer musicality & that musical link for me to all the bands and records that I adore are all there in that voice. Ah bliss.
So, don’t slack, mac, go back to the bottle store for MORE celebration!
Morning – I have returned from my exile. Sorry to all friends that are now down with my unhealthily incubated disease!
Chris was in good shape last night – he handed out chocolates when I arrived and was quite cheery. He’s been drawing some rather hilarious pictures (the reason that they are funny is best not gone into here, sorry) – and they are obvious improvements over previous pictures. He has also conveyed why he intially disliked the electric wheel chair he is supposed to use – the angle of the back was uncomfortable – and it has been fixed so he is zipping about merrily; personally, I’m a tad disappointed as I used to enjoying whacking into people in the chair myself.
But the really big news is that there is considerable improvement with Chris’ walking – he’s walked up to 200 meters at times! And we have had a cautious prediction that Chris will regain reasonable mobility. Which is just brilliant. It’s a wee bit early in the day here, but to those in the northen hemisphere I suggest now is an appropriate imbibing moment of celebration.
Thanks to NZ On Screen for working so hard to supply us with Chris’ videos. Many thanks also to the bands & artists that are sending me tracks for the album – I’ve been enjoying The Mint Chicks’ version of Crush this morning.
Hi – Yep I’m still banned from seeing Chris until my cold departs. Apparently he has just had a nice morning of pancakes with friends & is in fine form. His walking is improving & he has had some nice musical moments with a friend singing ABBA songs with him last week.
Hi All – Sorry no new Chris news for a few days as I’ve been struck down by a flu & am laying low. Tomorrow.
Hi Everyone – Yeah lots of people are excited about Jeff Mangum doing a track – well, me too. ‘On Avery Island’ is one of my all time faves – the harrowing ‘Three Peaches’ and how it transitions to that great pop moment of ‘Naomi’ … remarkable, breathtaking stuff! I’m also really excited to hear Bill Callahan’s version of ‘Lapse’ – it’s gotta be beautiful, right? Tracks are rolling in daily here and it’s a wonderful thing.
We watched ‘Persepolis’ with Chris yesterday – Liesha did a magnificent job of reading out the sub-titles to Chris throughout the entire film to ensure he followed it. I’m thrilled that Chris is getting back into watching movies as I always loved hanging out & watching movies with him and he’d always have something interesting to play me.
We also sat on the back deck in the sun for a while & drank tea – it was a beautiful moment as the sun shone and John was on one side of Chris & Liesha was on the other, both taking care of him.
Chris is drawing a lot with his left hand & today responded in the affirmative when I asked if he would like some colored pens. I’m hopeful Chris will use painting as a creative outlet through his recovery.