What we’ve been reading in…September

So, while we should have been wallowing in the annual loss of summer mournfest (who are we kidding, we’ve had no bloomin’ summer here in the UK) it’s actually been a busy month for us. Sooooo many exciting events to prepare for and therefore some exciting new blog content appearing on the web.

Oktoberfest kicks off in Munich so we’ve been hotting up on our beer knowledge. And also the Rugby World Cup is off to an exciting start – at HostelBookers we’ve all picked a team out of a hat and the winners get a free lunch, so you could say we have a particular interest in the outcome! It is also creeping in to northern lights season and there are already been some fantastic photographs popping up on the web. Check out some of the best blogs and what we’ve been reading in September…

Rugby World Cup

Haka flash mob
The event has been a great opportunity to delve in to some of the more curious aspects of New Zealand culture. And what better way to generate some excitement for the upcoming event than with a good ‘ol haka flash mob as picked up by Scott from the Bloggiest Bloggy Blog. Check out the video from Sylvia Park in Auckland, one guy loses his shoe (he he).

This is a great opportunity to find out what is a haka. The word ‘haka’ simply means dance. But history reflects it is not just a matter of simply translating. The haka was used as a pre-battle war dance, sometimes with weapons, to challenge opposition. Before encounters with Europe it was a formal ritual between two parties on meeting. Today, it is often only used on special occasions or at sporting events to entertain the crowds such as the All Blacks.

The legend of the haka lies with Tanerore the son of the Ra. Ra had two wives and the child he bore with Hine-Raumati, who was the essence of summer, was called Tanerore. Legend has it that the light dancing on hot summer days, which we can still see today, is Tanerore dancing for his mother. The trembling shimmer – the wiriwiri – is today re-enacted in the trembling hands of the haka performers.

Rugby teams in training
We also loved Tommy Bowe’s image of his Irish rugby team training in New Zealand. Gorgeous (the mountainous landscape I mean)

You can catch up with the team’s progress and follow Tommy Bowe on Twitter.

Christchurch one year on
It is hard to believe the devastating earthquake in Christchurch took place one year ago in September. There are plenty of reports on what progress the city has made – especially since the city was unable to host any Rugby World Cup matches when the stadium was affected.

Also in September, Phaidon reported that Shgeru Ban has been commissioned to create a temporary cardboard rebuild of the Christchurch Cathedral in the city centre. Shgeru Ban, a Japanese architect, has a history of working with such materials and was responsible for much of the emergency housing built for victims of the March earthquake in Japan.

Northern Lights

Create your own aurora borealis
For a creative interlude, Visitnorway.com has a quirky feature which allows you to create your own northern lights. It’s a bit like scribbling on Paint but you can choose a city scape or snowy peaks for your backdrop as well as a soundtrack. Once you are done, sit back and press playback – basically, you playing god for a minute and 30 seconds. Such fun!

Tips for photographing the northern lights
Anyone keen to learn how to photograph the northern lights will find this lesson by Patrick J. Endres on alaskaphotographyblog.com very useful. In my own article called ‘Astronomy Gastronomy: The Northern Lights’, I advised readers to ‘steer clear of a full moon’. But Patrick reminds us that it depends on the type of results you want for example you can light the foreground with a full moon but for more darker and eerie results which make the colours really stand out, time your trip so that it does not coincide with a full moon.

Birthday of Christiania

It is the 40th birthday of Christiania in 2011, so, while it may fall in to the September multimedia category, I also really enjoyed listening to David Goldblatt on Radio 4 and his show The Christiania Effect. His visit to the commune presented fascinating accounts from residents as well as political ministers. Sorry to those of you reading this outside the UK – you won’t be able to access BBC iPlayer. But for the rest of you, hurry! The radio show will only available to listen until Monday 3rd Oct 15:00 GMT+1

I also enjoyed this find, the famous Glass House in the Christiania Commune on UrbanGhostsMedia.com which is made from recycled windows. Interestingly, the government has advised the community that they must pay 76 million Danish kroner before 2018 in order to buy the land. On their first day of fundraising (Tuesday 27 September), they raised over 1 million kroner. If you are planning a trip to Copenhagen, be sure to check out the neighbourhood which will be introducing a jam-packed programme of fundraising events. Hey, you could even become a Christiania shareholder!


Things you didn’t know about Oktoberfest
Bit of a boozy month as HostleBookers preps for Oktoberfest frolics kicking off in Munich. It certainly got us thinking about beeeeer. Check out the Oktoberfest infographic on the Easyjet blog to learn interesting titbits such as how many wallets are lost, how many metres of urinals there are and how many sausages are consumed at the Oktoberfest event!

Beer facts
We all knoooow you can drink beer, but here are five things you didn’t know you could do with beer, brought to you by Crystal Luxmore from The Grid. And hey, if you don’t know your pilsner from your porter? You do now.

Thanks to all the bloggers for another month of fantastic reads. Oooh what delights are in store for October I wonder? The nights are darker, longer and that means more time to cuddle up to your comp for exciting reads. Roll on winter in the northern hemisphere.

Thanks to Egan Snow for the image off Flickr. Please note at the time of publication this images was suitable for use according to the Creative Commons license.

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