Island Life by David Slack

If you see just one movie this year....

You can generally rely on Brian Rudman to smoke out a secret and get it to hang its sorrowful head in front of us all. So what a surprise to see him baldly declare last week that he knows an especially good one and won't tell.

The Aotea Centre, he says, despite its compromised acoustics, has a few sweet spots dotted around the auditorium. He knows where they are, he says, but he ain't sharing.

If you happen to be that infamously loyal Ticketek staffer who spends a lot of time surfing the net, and you're reading this, here's a tip: "Rudman, B". Next time he books, get out your pencil and take careful note of the seat numbers. That should get you a few bucks on TradeMe.

I'm lowbrow enough to concede that I have frankly no idea whether this soprano or that is making a hash of things or not. Also, my hearing has already been substantially compromised by not-quite-so-civilised habits of music-listening. When I read about theoretical auditory sweet spots in the Aotea centre, I think of the cartoon of the silver service waiter telling the guy at the table that the wine bottle he's brandishing has an audacious nose with a subtle blend of peach and vanilla, a sublime aftertaste and, best of all, won't fuck up the flavour of your cheeseburger.

Highbrow or lowbrow, there was plenty to like last night at the theatre in question. Nick Cave wasn't there in the flesh, but he was most certainly there in spirit. The Sydney Dance Company has had the pleasure of working with twenty years' worth of Nick Cave master tapes - and their producer - to create Underland. The results are impressive, and the music sounds good in any seat. Working on the principle that I don't know much about dance but I know what I like, I'll tell you that it's as wry, and suitably foreboding, as you'd expect. It's engaging, it's powerful and it was just what the critics promised. Nick Cave fan of Petone should make every effort to see this if she hasn't already.

And seeing I'm taking the liberty of organising other people's diaries for them, let me suggest one other interesting night out. This Monday, the fifth annual Bruce Jesson lecture will be delivered at the Maidment Theatre. You can read all about it here, but in short the topic is one that is especially interesting to people who write books about Great Race Rows.

If you read what David Lange had to say in the inaugural lecture about, among other things, the Treaty, you'll see that he canvasses a number of the arguments later traversed by Don Brash. He considers them in a manner that is equally as frank about the inherent contradictions and difficulties that beset Treaty issues but, crucially, without the cynical language of the Orewa speech that was as divisive as the policies of division it purported to find fault with.

This year's lecturer will be Ani Mikaere: Are we all New Zealanders now? A Maori response to the Pakeha quest for indigeneity.

The Pakeha quest for indigeneity and legitimacy in Aotearoa, it is argued, is ultimately contingent upon Maori acceptance of the Pakeha presence here. How then, from a Maori perspective, might such acceptance be gained?

It will be fascinating. Maidment Theatre at Auckland University at 6.30pm on Monday 15 November.

Finally, seeing I'm treating this as a kind of noticeboard today, here's an opening of sorts. A law firm for whom I used to teach workshops on plain-language drafting is looking for someone to take a couple of them next month in Auckland and Wellington. I don't have the time, which is a shame, because it's an interesting exercise. If you have some expertise in writing, and the law, and training, this is absolutely your gig. Let me know, and I'll put you in touch with them.