Thursday, January 27, 2022

Foodie Friday – Around the World in Seven Dinners

Since we still can’t re-enter the world because of ludicrous isolation / quarantine protocols / restrictions for a cold / mild flu (if you are vaccinated/boosted), we decided to bring the world to us.


Masterchef Trudy treated us to a week of international cuisine favourites from her Arizona Cowgirl Kitchen.


We started on our Foodie week with a UK classic – Fish & Chips – with a Royal twist.  Darren McGrady – the Royal Chef – was the Chef to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana etc and has shared the Queen’s favourite Fish & Chips preparation.  Trudy based her interpretation around this – using Mediterranean Sea Bass, lightly breadcrumbed with Provence herbs – accompanied by a slice of lemon from our own lemon tree, home-made French Fries with three different sauces and of course Lancashire’s own mushy peas.  Accompanied by an ice cold Birra Moretti.


Then onto provincial France – for a timeless classic from 1982’s The Silver Palate Cookbook – Chicken Marbella.  A briny/sweet combination using prunes, olives, capers in a Sancerre white wine light sauce.  Cooked overnight and served with crunchy, garlic-infused French green beans – old school farmhouse French flavours, texture and smell.  And even better leftovers for lunch the following day.


Staying on the Mediterranean – next up was King Crab legs with a smoked mozzarella pasta salad, petits poivrons from the South of France, Greek peperoncini with tiny tomatoes and sliced cucumber.  Healthy, light and delicious.


A two day ‘stay’ in Italy – with fine wines from Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany.  A superb seafood Lasagne with shrimp and lobster, garlic, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, parsley and spinach – a traditional recipe from the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.  And then a hearty Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and spicy Italian sausage – spiced up with shallots, oregano, fennel seeds and cannellini beans.


Mexico was next – ‘eggs are not only for breakfast’.  A Mexican omelette made from eggs, green pepper, quesadilla, red onions and hot chorizo.


Finally home on the range.  A Western barbecue in Tonto’s at sundown around the camp-fire.  Lean Bison Burgers from Montana, bbq beans and tiny bbq’d potatoes.


Physically we’re in Arizona.  Mentally we’re back in the world, Free!



Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Last Duel


December 1396, Normandy France.  Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) fight France’s last duel – over a charge of rape by Carrouges’ wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer – brilliant).  A true story.  Epically brought to life by Ridley Scott who tells the story in three chapters – each chapter from the point of view of the three protagonists.


A great story, amazing scenery, superb staging, an unusual device/approach.  True escapism with all kinds of provocative, thought-provoking morality calls/decisions.  A great watch.


But what’s even more amazing is the film’s Director.  Ridley Scott is 84 and just directed this star-studded epic and The House of Gucci with Lady Gaga and co which Trudy and Vanessa enjoyed on the big screen on New Years Eve.  Two major movies spanning six centuries!!!  What a guy.  Both shot in 2021 in the middle of a global pandemic.  Incredible.  And there’s more.  A Napoleon and Josephine epic being shot in France this month – with Joaquin Phoenix and (again) Jodie Comer – fast becoming this year’s ‘It Girl’, and a sequel to one of my favourite all time movies – Gladiator in the pipeline too.


Scott didn’t direct his first movie (The Duellists) until he was 40 (having first developed a terrific career in advertising, including the UK’s favourite all-time commercial in 1973 for Hovis bread).  Since then he’s been a box office phenomenon – Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, The Martian, American Gangster – amazing.


Keep ‘em coming Sir Ridley.


Don’t Let The Old Man In.



Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Last of the Rock Stars (3)


Mr Loaf died on Thursday.  He was two years older than me – but had lived 20 years longer and harder!!!


I was privileged to get to know him in 1991 when we introduced our new Pepsi bottling plant / business in Australia and New Zealand.  Meat Loaf headlined a tour we sponsored playing private gigs for our clients, the trade, local luminaries and Government officials.  I lived with him for 14 days – and nights.


Meat Loaf was part of everyone’s life – from Prime Minister to the local Postie.  Who couldn’t relate to “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”?


Meat Loaf was a rugby nut – he’d played as a teenager and was an All Blacks / Wallabies fan.  He was like a kid as we introduced him to the stars of these teams – and they were like kids in front of him.  Rock ‘n Roll and Rugby – how lucky we all are.  (And boy, could he party – we had a couple of all-nighters that rocked Auckland and Sydney.)


Spotify’s Meat Loaf playlists are on non-stop this weekend.



Monday, January 17, 2022

Keeping it in the Family

Here’s a post from my eldest son about my youngest son’s new venture.  Good on y’a both.




Sport is one of my biggest passions.  Digital is one of my big interests.  I always love seeing the great ideas and work when these are bound together.


My brother Danis Roberts has founded UnderscoreSport based out of New Zealand.


With his previous experience at Manchester City, Harlequins and MCC, the home of cricket – he has learnt, created and executed from some of the great sporting organisations.


Underscore Sport helps clients across five ways:

  1. Strategy:  Developing strategic platform and content roadmaps for social media, video and Web3.
  2. Management:  Day-to-day channel and community management.
  3. Revenue:  Commercialising social and video content and creating new digital assets, eg NFT’s.
  4. Insight:  Audits, analytics, reporting and competitor benchmarking.
  5. Trend Reporting:  Digesting global platform and tech trends and their implications for local clients.


So if you need any expertise, support or counsel, just get in touch with Danis Roberts and create some memorable sporting magic digitally.


Ben Roberts

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Last of the Rock Stars (2)


Brian Wilson said his favourite rock song was The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” – produced by Phil Spector and delivered by the cat-eyed, bee-hived, sultry Ronnie Spector.


I was crazy for The Ronettes – Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain, So Young, Breakin’ Up – and was a big fan of Ronnie’s solo career.  She was as her 2009 album said “The Last of the Rock Stars”.  She passed away today.


Go on to Spotify and play this along with her albums – English Heart and Unfinished Business.


Trudy and I went to see her in New York at our favourite pub / bar / music venue – The City Winery (KR Connect July 26, 2012) – 10 years ago.  Here’s what I wrote then.


The Last Of The Rock Stars

Last Friday I took along 6 friends to the City Winery. A terrific venue midway between Saatchi & Saatchi and my Tribeca apartment - a 10 minute walk from both. We were up close and personal to one of the great legends - Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes. Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) said the greatest ever pop song was the Phil Spector Ronettes song "Be My Baby."

In the 60's, the Ronettes led the girl group's invasion of Britain behind Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. They toured with The Stones and The Beatles, and brought the Beehive hairdo into the UK.

Three years later they disappeared. Ronnie was kept a prisoner in Phil Spector's L.A. mansion for eight years, driven into becoming a dependent, fearful woman who was driven to the bottle. Spector became more and more weird surrounding himself with his wigs and guns, and an amazing controlling persecutional complex. His craziness landed him in jail after being convicted of the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

Ronnie's show is a Tour de Force of her life. She tells her stories on stage with a funky backing group and a bunch of slides from the 60's, 70's and today. She pulls no punches, sings some great songs and truly is the Last of the Rock Stars. She played four shows and added two more. This was a New York night to remember for those of my generation.

The Ronettes have finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (inducted by Keith Richards) despite the best efforts of Phil Spector who is still attempting to the control the band from his prison cell.

What a story. What a survivor. What a night.


Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Fist


A few days ago I posted a blog from Denis O’Reilly on his New Zealand Black Power initiative – The Fist.


Here are the six values The Fist espouses – which could serve as a Purpose led platform for what I hope will be the next generation of political leaders everywhere.



  • Be honest and open with each other.
  • Be sure of the validity of information. 
  • Only use highly trusted sources. 



  • Despite any differences of opinion or belief stay united.
  • Collaborative. Unified. Indivisible.



  • Centre everything on the safety and wellbeing of our whanau.
  • Stay interconnected. Nurture. 



  • Put a priority on looking after those in need. 
  • Stay respectful, dedicated, committed. 



  • Despite present difficulties focus on the future. Be the best we possibly can. 
  • Relentlessly pursue excellence. 



  • Be staunch, be courageous. Do whatever it is we have to do.


Ringa Kaha.



Thursday, January 6, 2022

What’s so Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding?

Six years ago Denis O’Reilly – one of Black Power’s four surviving OG’s (Original Gangstas) from 50 years ago, wrote this about 64 Shots:

Change happens on the edge and it is at Aotearoa’s social edge that my efforts are deployed. I’m going to use 64 Shots as epistles for change. Like an evangelist I’m going to target every Maori leader, both formal and informal, every Maori entrepreneur and social activists I know and say brother, sister, let me share this with you. Let us build a business-based self-liberation movement in Aotearoa.  Let’s create the big ideas to enthuse and motivate ourselves and each other and then let ‘er rip”.


To kick off 2022, here’s a message he just sent me on bringing the Black Power community together to combat the common enemy of all of us – Covid.


“When I say I’m going to do things I mean it. I’ve been distributing books individually to street leaders and prisoners. It resonates. Last year in October we had the 50th anniversary of the Black Power in NZ. I’m one of four remaining ‘OG’s’ (Original Gangsta) from the founding era. (One is in a wheelchair, another has a colostomy bag.) 


I was tasked with passing on knowledge to the next generation of leaders. We came together in May of this year at Ngongotaha on the shores of Rotorua. This was possibly the most significant meeting of the Blacks in 20 years. There had been a lot of division driven mainly I think by methamphetamine and the various ‘for’ and ‘against’ stances adopted by the membership. I think the relentless harm minimisation campaign I have run since 2004 has come to fruition – my Nga Kupu Aroha blog charts it – and the BP have moved out of what I describe as the “Valley of lamentations” and into a more progressive place. Yes meth is still a pain in the arse but most have moved beyond it. The “Whanau of the Fist” then describes the collective of Black Power and Mangu Kaha chapters throughout NZ. If you wear the fist regardless of what’s on your top and bottom rockers you are part of the “Whanau”


You will recall that you sent me some words for our initial waananga and a few cartons of books. We used 64 Shots as our primary text (Supplemented by Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ and Maslow’s ‘Theory of Eupsychian Management’. 


I was meant to have 25 young leaders. I ended up with 50. We had our second waananga three weeks ago again in Taranaki. Because of Covid we had face to face event with 50 at a marae in Patea, 100 members from the central north island by Zoom in Rotorua, and another 50 members by Zoom in Auckland. It seems that I’ve grown the parish. We reaffirmed the values and vision and concluded that our immediate mission was to tackle Covid.


The little handbook I sent you for the event yesterday is titled “He Maro mo te Pakanga Mate Korona” A ‘maro’ is the flaxen loin cloth that a warrior wears into battle. Pakanga is war. Mate Korona is Covid. So more or less ‘here’s your loincloth for the battle against Covid’. I held it in the Taradale Town Hall rather than on a marae. It will have freaked out the good citizens of the village to see 70 or so patched gang members in this classic ‘art deco’ venue but my subliminal message was a civic one – “we are all in this together”. 


So as you see we repeated our values and contextualised them within the fight against Covid. We are determined not to be split into vaccinated and non-vaccinated. We worked people through the change process citing VUCA, The Four Agreements, and the Four Rooms of Change. There were some very strong anti-vax anti-compliance views in the room but the shift started to occur when we got to page 6 and workshopped ‘Forcefield Analysis’. With ideas assembled I then brought in Prof Michael Baker by Zoom. Michael fielded scientific/medical questions. I then brought in Debbie Ngarewa Packer MP co-leader of the Maori Party. Debbie is pro-vax, anti-mandate. Her succinct message is that the anti-vax campaign is a right wing, supremacist strategy designed to dissuade people from vaccinating.


That was pretty much the point where the room changed and we had people lining up to be tested and to be vaccinated. 


Arohanui. Denis”

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Happy New Year


 Kevin and Trudy