Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Back to the 80s
TVOne screened a cheesy documentary last night called Relive the 80s. They'd let someone loose in their archives, and they came up with a show that tried to jam in every cheesy bit of footage they found. This made for a densely packed jumble of images that was fun to look at, but wasn't really given any social or political context - the 81 tour was in there, fleetingly. The voiceover, written by Belinda Todd and mouthed by Charlotte Dawson and her lopsided lips (what's up with that?), was try-hard clever, and the brief interview snippets were so short that they didn't add much. Cept for Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie talking about their days back in the Thompson Twins - cue live footage of them playing at Live Aid to a huge crowd. That must've been some incredible experience; I'd love to have heard something about that. The focus on over the top fashions made it seem like every one dressed like that in the 80s - it was just a small group of Auckland central nightclubbers, really (who went on to become influential fashionista like Denise and Francis World). They covered breakdancing, but made no mention of rap music arrriving here. But there was heaps of music in the show, in fact I don't think there was a single second without some background 80s tune. Still, lots of great images.

One ad they featured made me think about how far we've come. There was the 80s ad for sensible drinking - the woman and man sitting at the bar having fun, he gets drunker and drunker, and she sings "Stop making love to that bottle, baby, you should be making love to me", which was too much for some folk back then, so it was amended to "Stop making love to that bottle, baby, and go and make a cup of tea".
In the Weekend Herald's business section there was a story about Lion Red's new ad campaign, to replace their previous 'red blooded' ad, with the boys night on the town, that screened last year. Lion Red dropped that ad, after one of the actors featured went on to play a gay character in a local tv show The Strip. Groan.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Raw power
Iggy Pop was on C4 last night - they were screening a live concert of Iggy Pop and his band, live in Belgium, apparently to coincide with his new album, Skullring. When the credits rolled, I discovered it was four years old (1999), but man, was it good. He rocked thru Search and Destroy, I Wanna Be Your Dog and a few other Stooges numbers, and it just made me wanna see it for myself. His band were a bunch of long haired metal poseurs, cept for the drummer who pounded the bejesus out of his kit like his life depended on it. Which is exactly how it should be.
Iggy reformed the original Stooges lineup earlier this year for a few select show in the US - they played their hometown, Detroit back in August - check this review.
Arthur magazine did a big feature on the return of the Stooges - you can download a pdf of it, if you feel so inclined.
They're playing at All Tomorrow's Parties in LA in a few weeks; its on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It's a UK/US music festival thats guest- curated. This year, LA's is curated by Matt Groening (Simpsons/Futurama creator). If I win Lotto, I'm going.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Rockin with his hands

He's a one-man band, in his own right
Jam Master jams to the broad daylight
No instruments needed, just two record players
A stage, a crowd, and two rhyme sayers

Run-D.M.C. - "Jam Master's Jammin'"

Its one year ago yesterday that RUN DMC's DJ Jam Master Jay was tragically shot dead in his recording studio in New York. Police are no closer to solving this case, a year on, but new evidence has come to light.
One of the gunmen hugged Jay, then shot him, so Jay knew his killer. "Investigators have had to sort through Mizell's debts, which forced his wife to take a job at a Banana Republic [prior to his death] and may eventually top $500,000, allegations of drug dealing and finger pointing by Jay's associates as to who the killer might be."
AllHiphop has an interview with "a high ranking New York Police Department detective" who spoke with them, on condition of their identity remaining secret. The key to solving this case is a man named Derek Parker.

AllHipHop: Randy Allen seems to be a central character in this whole situation. What have you heard about this supposed insurance policy? I recently heard his older sister was the beneficiary of the policy.
AD: We are aware of it. We aren't sure who the beneficiary is at this time.
AllHipHop: So there was an insurance policy.
AD: Yes.
AllHipHop: Someone collected on it?
AD: That I don't know. Sometimes it's hard to penetrate these circles as an outsider. I do have a suggestion. The family of Jam Master Jay should contact a detective name Derek Parker.
AllHipHop: Who is Derek Parker?
AD: He's the guy that started and founded the rap and Hip-Hop squad. He's the guy they need to reach out to.
AllHipHop: What's the rap & Hip-Hop squad?
AD: The squad that goes around and uh, watches the rappers.
AllHipHop: So there is a Hip-Hop squad?
AD: Yes. Parker was appointed by the ex chief of the department, Lou Anemone and Commissioner Edward Norris.
AllHipHop: Do you think Derek Parker could solve the case faster and if so, why haven't they contacted him yet?
AD: The family may not know who he is. The rappers in the industry knows who he is cause he's dealt with alot of them at one point or another. He was in Los Angeles for the Biggie murders and Las Vegas for the Pac murder. Still to this day he's a private investigtar for his own company, Styles Security. Parker claimed that if he is in fact hired to assist in the case, he would have it wrapped up in a week."
Mighty mighty, letting it all hang out
Ronald La Praed played bass for the Commodores, back in the day; remember 'Brickhouse'? That's him. One of the greatest basslines in the history of popular music, no contest. These days he lives in Auckland and leads the band on Mike King Tonight.
"Some of his clothes are embalmed in museums in Nashville and Las Vegas. He has toured the world 18 times, thrown Diana Ross into a swimming pool and played games with Michael Jackson while the latter was still a normal-looking if not normal child..."

Halloween doesn't have much impact down this part of the world, but after checking out this site, I wish it did. Fun with pumpkins!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The disorderly business of life
APRA's Silver Scroll Awards rolled around Tuesday night. This event celebrates our songwriters in fine fashion. APRA's (Australasian Performing Rights Association) members get together and have a mighty fine knees-up featuring music, of course, and much drunkenness and tomfoolery, but that's later in the evening.

One of the highlights is the performance of each of the five finalists' songs being transformed by other artists. Damien Binder's 'Til Now' was sung by Heather Mansfield of The Brunettes with the SJD band and a choir. It was the first song performed on the night and a very mellow rendition - so laid back that it drifted by most of the audience. Perhaps starting off with something more raucous might've helped.

Anika Moa and Anna Coddington (from Handsome Geoffrey) strolled out to perform Golden Horse's 'Riverhead'. "This is our attempt at a Golden Horse song - wherever you guys are, hope you like it. Oh shit, you're right there," says a startled Anika as she spies the band sitting near the front. Anika and Anna performed a stripped down version that had its own delightful charm, especially in the middle when Anika slipped in "we made this next bit up" and did a little dance. Golden Horse later won the most performed song in New Zealand award.

Bindspott's 'Plhex' (love those wacky hiphop spelling lessons) was performed by Jordan Reyne, accompanied by Indra Hughes on the Auckland Town Hall's organ and a chinky sounding drum machine, which was pretty impressive.

The MCs for the evening were comedians The Naked Samoans, dressed in tracksuits which made them look vaguely sporty - or was it meant to be hiphop? Dunno. They told us that all those videos with people putting their hands in the air wouldn't exist if it weren't for the songwriters. "There'd be nothing to put your hands in the air to." Then one of them adds "You might as well have thalidomide, 'cos there'd be no reason to put your hands in the air," which caused some shocked laughter and horrified looks to shoot round the room. Now that's pushing the envelope for ya!

The Naked Samoans did a fine job of ribbing the official speakers, like coming back on stage after Arthur Baysting: "ladies and gentlemen, Arthur Baysting. Riveting speech, Arthur, you had us with hello."

The inaugural Maioha award, presented by Cliff Curtis, went to Ngahiwi Apanui for 'Wharikihia'. Ngahiwi thanked APRA in his speech, noting that their cheque usually turned up just when he was in the poo. "It's the most money I've ever got from music. When I do a gig, two people turn up and they're both cousins, AND they refuse to pay!" The Naked Samoans came back on stage after him and made several delightfully politically incorrect comments about Maori before getting it back on track with "Let's give it up for Maori people". After dutiful applause one of the Naked Samoans added, "It's their country - we're just paying rent."

Some politicans were in attendance. Judith Tizard made a speech after a ridiculously overhyped intro. She said that "Bill English sends his apologies." He'd lost his job earlier that day. Peter Biggs, chairman of The Arts Council at Creative New Zealand, suggested that what we needed was less statues of Queen Victoria and one of composer Douglas Lilburn, which I think is a brilliant idea.
Clasical composer Gillian Whitehead won the Sounz Contemporary award for her work 'Alice'.

Rock band Augustino ambled on stage and churned their way through Ill Semantics 'Highway', eventually getting their groove on mid-song to the approval of the Dawn Raid table, who waved their hands in the air like they just didn't care.

The winner of the Silver Scroll was Nesian Mystik with 'For the people'. The band accepted the award (and $5000 cheque) in a prerecorded video as they're currently in England plying their trade. 'For the people' was performed earlier in the evening by a gentleman introduced as "New Zealand's own Frank Sinatra" which gives you an idea of his take on it. Think 'Nesians are you with me' sung Vegas-style, with strings and band. It was so cheesy and twisted - in a good way, mind. Hats off to the incredibly talented Victoria Kelly, musical director for the evening, for such a great job.

This year marked the final Silver Scrolls for APRA boss Mike Chunn. After 11 years with the organisation he's leaving for fresh pastures. Mike's first play The Orderly Business of Life was recently performed in Auckland but he is giving no clues as to his next move. Before he made his way to the stage a video tribute from his staff at APRA played, with Jordan Luck leading them in a rousing rendition of the Exponents' 'I'll say goodbye', sung as "Michael; we'll say goodbye, even though we're blue.' It was touching listening to his staff talk about him with much affection, especially the comment that no one could ever call Mike aggressive 'cos he drives like a nanna. Mike took the stage to a standing ovation. He has done a hell of a lot in raising the profile of New Zealand music and helping expand the possibilities for many of the songwriters in the room. He had planned to wing the speech but got told to write something down, so he did. He thanked his staff in his usual witty, erudite fashion, mentioning various characteristics he would miss (congrats to the woman at our table who let her cellphone ring during Mike's speech - it was in her handbag, across the table - nice). He left the stage to another standing ovation but didn't come back out. The Naked Samoans tried to entice him back but with no luck. So later they just carried him back on and made everybody stand and applaud again, just so he didn't miss it. Nice blokes.

After that it all got a bit hazy. Once the awards have finished, the fun part of the night begins - the second stage. This is where anyone can get up and sing two songs maximum. All sorts of musical shenanigans go on here. The Silver Scrolls are a great night to catch up with people I haven't seen in ages; an event thankfully devoid of any music industry hype or self important BS. It's just a bloody good night out. There were some other awards and things, but you can get that from the official news sources.

(also posted at Public Address)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Can't get enough
I heard a great interview with three former members of Supergroove on BFM late last week - Ben, Karl and Tim talked about the crazy times on their world tour. They were all so young, and changed so much; as Tim observed on the radio, "when we got back from tour, I was gay!" That Tim, he's so wacky. Their record company has just put out a greatest hits cd with some fine remixes from Timmy Schumacher and Baitercell.

I remember sitting outside the Dog Club in Newton Rd (now the Dogs Bollix), when my band was doing a gig there, way back, and this geeky young guy comes and sits down next to me and starts chatting and introduces himself; "my names Karl, and my bands called Supergroove." He was so keen, which I thought was really cool.

We played a support for Supergroove several years later, on their first album tour, in a hall in Mt Maunganui. Their crowd was totally nuts, and I remember Slave, Otis and DLT were the other supports. After our soundcheck we went off to the hot pools (they were still finishing building the stage), and told recent band recruit Gavin D that they didn't let you show tattoos in the pool here, and he'd have to wear a t shirt. We all had tattoos, so he believed us, god knows why. We were lying thru our teeth.
Here's an interview with Karl, looking back.

If you're familiar with author Douglas Rushkoff, he's got a new gig - as keyboard player for a revived Psychic TV with Genesis P-Orridge. He says "It's a humbling prospect. Although it won't be my first time playing with a band, it will be my first time playing with a band in a couple of decades, and my first time playing with a band that people actually listen to by choice. I will let you know what happens, and if they decide to keep me. First gig, sometime in December."

Check out the human beatbox/harmonica. Warning-its a slow load on a fast connection, but worth the wait. A guy beatboxing hiphop styles, with a harmonica thrown in as well. Nuts.

Bush's Whitehouse has altered its website so that search engines can no longer show search results for 'Iraq' with their sites pages listed. This looks odd, but it may be a wayward conspiracy theory. Take a look.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Kill the poor.
Aussie bank ANZ bought the National Bank last week. ANZ has consistently had poor ratings in customer surveys, whereas National Bank is near the top.
"Asked about a total switch to the better regarded National brand, ANZ chief executive John McFarlane said the bank, which has about 1 million customers, suffered from skewed ratings in customer satisfaction surveys because of its higher than average percentage of "welfare clients"."
Yes, its those scummy poor bastards ruining them. Its bad enough that they're poor, but do they have to bank with us? Great attitude, Mr McFarlane.

I had a great weekend, DJ'ed out at The Grand Hotel in Helensville on sunday afternoon with Bassteppa Sound System, lotsa sunshine, hanging out in the courtyard out the back playing tunes, makeshift bar set up in the shed, barbecue sizzling away, all very very fine.

I just realised that list of the top 40 bands in Britain today from the Guardian doesn't mention Primal Scream. WTF? I recently picked up their Echodek album on vinyl secondhand, very tasty remix work by Adrian Sherwood, reworking their Vanishing Point album top to bottom. Easily as good a remix album as Mad Professors No Protection (Massive Attacks Protection album remixed). Sherwood's solo disc Never Trust a Hippy is well worth investigating, some freaked out dub nonsense on Real World.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Watching breakfast tv this morning - Mike Hosking is interviewing E-TV's Cindy Taylor, here from the US for NZ Fashion Week. She's all bright and bubbly, typical American TV celeb; she was very complimentary toward our fashion, but wasn't too pleased with the Herald saying she was late for makeup and hair for yesterdays IPG show, where she was modeling. She claimed she was there half an hour early with her film crew, to film backstage happenings. Maybe she was just annoyed at being upstaged by Nicky Watson wearing, well, not very much. Check the picture. The print version of the Herald also has photos of Matthew Ridge (Ms Watsons partner) and his mate Marc Ellis sitting in the front rows grinning like a couple of naughty schoolboys.
Then, while walking to work, I went thru Aotea Square, and this film crew comes out of the back of the Town Hall, by the TV One news van, all American accents, and there she is - Cindy Taylor, in the flesh. Look, a famous person. Except all I can see of her from behind is her hair, so when I walk past her, I do a few checks back over my shoulder. She's quite small, big hair, tank top, jeans and - wait for it - ugg boots. Yeah baby, yeah! The Herald may have bagged her, but if she's cool enough to wear ugg boots, she's alright in my books.

There was a wicked tv show I saw last year - the episode I remember best was one that took a timid young woman studying classical cello at music school, and transformed her into a club DJ, in two weeks. She had two mentors (Lisa Savage and Lotte), and had to perform at a club night alongside two other women DJ's, and the expert judges had to pick which was the imposter. None of the judges even spotted her. One of the judges (Elliot Eastwick) commented that he'd been djing for 8 years, and he couldn't spot her, so anyone could do it (DJ).

Now there's a new show called The Joy of Decks starting, with a similar concept. XLR8R reports that "The six-part Joy of Decks chronicles the trials and tribulations of four DJ finalists, who have been selected from a pool of more than 300 nominees from all over the UK and Ireland. The finalists are then paired with high-profile mentors Mr. C, Tom Middleton, Miss Bliss and Roni Size. Each episode will follow the mentors as they coach the finalists on the finer points of mixing, track production, radio broadcasting and how to maintain professionalism amidst the chaos of an all-night orgy in Ibiza."
Roni Size talks about his influences on the site...
"Q: We read that the film ‘Wildstyle’ was important for you…?
Roni Size: Absolutely. It’s the blueprint. The blueprint of all blueprints. The acting was atrocious. But the story… I had the privilege of interviewing Grandmaster Flash and I asked him about the kitchen scene (no one else had ever asked him)… they were going to do this scene in a club and everything but they couldn’t get the permit… so they said where can we do it? Yeah?…so he was like, well let’s just do it in my kitchen right…and it's the best scene I’ve ever seen … so you know what I did? I set up my decks in the kitchen too…"
Now, can you imagine the same tv show here, say hosted by celebrity DJ Mikey Havoc? Bring it on!

Cuba St Geek mentions the 1001 Day Project - take a look. Kiwi Michael Green plans to complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days, such as...
To have seen all IMDB top 250 movies
Write a letter to every NZ politician
Visit and photograph 5 locations as seen in Graham Sydney paintings
Pay for the person behind me at a fast food drive thru.
Now this is what the internet is all about.

A few weeks back I mentioned the Guardian’s list of the top 40 bands in Britain today, which included a band called Selfish Cunt. I got an email about that post - there's a local connection. Get this...
Mettereitzel commented that: "one of the selfish cunts is a f*cking westie....yes a real one." Kiwi's pop up everywhere, huh?
They're a two piece -Singer Martin Tomlinson and guitarist Patrick Constable - anybody know which one is the westie?

UPDATE - Just discovered that Patrick is the NZer - their single is out soon. Thanks to someone called Yippee for that info.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Bowling for Columns.
I like Michael Moore; he's an entertaining commentator, but man, he sometimes plays fast and loose with the facts (that's why I call John Pilger the thinking man's Michael Moore, although Pilger probably wouldn't appreciate being called that). Moore claims what he does is comedy,as a way of deflecting criticism of his occasional factual lapses - "How can there be inaccuracy in comedy?" he says.
Now his latest book Dude, Where's My Country? (Amazon.com has some interesting reader reviews) has come under the microscope - Spinsanity picked out at least 17 mistakes or factual errors in it. I know he is one of the few visible voices of dissent in the American media which makes him important, but perhaps he's wasting his audience's time if he hasn't got his facts straight. That's one thing you could never say about John Pilger. But then, Pilger is a journalist. Moore is an activist/social commentator.
Its hard to know just what the media landscape is like in the US without actually being there. Moore seems to be creating dialogue amongst ordinary Americans about their government, which, given how apathetic Americans have been about their recent governments, is a good thing. Remember, this is a country where over two thirds of the population believe Iraq had something to do with September 11, even though both the FBI and the CIA have thoroughly investigated this alleged connection and come up with absolutely no proof. There's a very good interview with Moore at the Guardians site, well worth a read.
So, pissing Americans off makes them think. At least if they're angry at Moore, they're feeling something. I admire his courage, but....

total madness... from No Rock and Roll Fun
Tribute band Ultimate Madness has been asked to pay GBP500 for copying the group's 'Nutty Train' dance by Chas Smash's brother Brendan, who invented it in 1979. They've also been told to pay GBP100 every time they use it. The group countered that they only get GBP200 a gig and will seek legal advice.

The NZ Herald reports that hotel workers at APEC had to pass medical tests including rectal swabs. What were they hoping to find up there, weapons of mass destruction? Don't answer that, smartass. The things you do for a buck...

My daily walk to and from work takes me thru Aotea Square - this week its been overtaken with tents for NZ Fashion Week. In the mornings I get to see harried makeup artists running around with their makeup boxes, and on the way home from work, I get to see the fashionistas and the skinny models who need pies standing outside the back of the Town Hall looking terribly important. Its all highly amusing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Walk this way
Russell Simmons co-founded Def Jam Records, and bought us Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and helped his brother Run get started in Run DMC. Here's a comment from a recent interview with Mother Jones magazine.

MJ: If you could meet President Bush, what would you tell him?
RS: Fear is not the basis of governing this country.
MJ: Do you think Bush knows who you are?
RS: I think Colin Powell knows who I am.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Your personal recommendation is worthless to me
Its called whisper marketing. I first heard of this in William Gibsons latest book Pattern Recognition. The main character meets someone whose job is to go into hip bars and talk about their clients product, which then makes it desirable to those less attractive people around them.
Gibson talks about this in an interview on his site...
Q: "There's a phenomenon you describe in the book, in which people are paid to mention products casually in social settings as a part of marketing campaigns. How advanced is this, and are we likely to see more of it?
A: When I was writing that, I had heard of it being done, but assumed it was an urban legend. Then I ran across a news piece that claimed it was being done in Manhattan, but that the public response to it was intensely, almost violently negative. As perhaps it should be."

Its recently hit Sydney...
...and now its arrived here. The weekend papers covered the story, under the headline "Why that pretty girl really chatted you up." Its happening in Auckland right now - local ad agency Dot-ink's Reese Jensen says "Forget the billboards, this is what the consumer of today needs to cut through the clutter." The company had put "product ambassadors" in Auckland nightclubs - groups of attractive young people who order "X-drink" to sway the rest of the crowd to buy the same. They call it tactile media.
Your personal recommendation of a film/book/drink/restaurant/CD could soon become worthless. Just a thought.

British label Ninjatunes recently reissued C is For Cookie by The Cookie Monster - why? Apparently one their artists DJ Food tried to get a tune off Sesame Street for a mix cd a few years back, and its taken a long while to get clearance to release it. The tune is the disco version remixed by famous DJ Larry Levan - his very first remix. The flip is the Pinball Number Count, with backing vocals from the Pointer Sisters. Its a groovy record; I scored a copy from Fat City recently. It's choice! ( I am not being paid to say this - see above story.)

Friday, October 17, 2003

Mad Professor in the asylum of dub.
I spent the last two days in a nightclub, listening to legendary UK reggae producer Mad Professor discuss the art of remixing, with a remix he's doing for Salmonella Dub as an example. Now, its been wonderfully sunny in AK for the last two days, so spending it in a nightclub doesn't sound much like fun. 'Cept this club was Coast Bar, on top of an office block on Princes Wharf, with harbour views.
The Mad Prof also played a bunch of his own work, mixing and dubbing it live, including tunes from some recent as yet unreleased recordings with Sly n Robbie. Salmonella Dub's producer and Pitch Back dude Paddy Free (top bloke) also came along to talk about the recording process for the Dub, very interesting stuff. The remix was put together by Chris Macro of the Dubious Bros, who works as an engineer at Red Bull Studios and MaiFM's studio.
Its been really nice to have the luxury to spend two whole days thinking about music. Usually it gets jammed in at evenings and weekends.
The seminar was organised by Red Bull (thanks, folks), who bought the Prof over from Oz - he's doing a bunch of gigs there at present. None planned here this year, but some early next year.
It was an interesting bunch of people at the seminar - about 30 dj/producers, only two women, a couple of dreadlocks (hello to Gabe of the Dubwize sound Sytem - check their new album, out soon!). Some of the dj types were more interested in talking about mixing on computers, rather than getting their heads around the notion of the mix process as being a hands-on, live performance in itself just like the guitarists or keyboardists performance. Its the spontaneous nature of dub that makes it so exciting. Like the Mad Prof said, the reason he likes mixing live rather than computerised, automated mixing, is you never know whats going to happen - its always a surprise, even to himself.

I caught some of the MTV Movie Awards on TV3 last night -they seem incredibly dated. Some of the films up for awards are like a year or two old. Still, worth it for Peter Jacksons acceptance speech for LOTR (Best action sequence), from the set - boasting about how he had to teach Viggo Mortenson how to hold a sword, and stunt double for Bernard Hill - these two actors snuck up behind him, in full costume, interupted him, then he tried to run away, while they chased him with their swords drawn.
Andy Serkis won for Best Virtual character, and half way thru his speech (also on location in NZ) Gollum appears, and starts swearing and bitching, saying "F**k you, Andy Sirkus, you're nothing without me! F**king Peter Jackson, talentless hack. F**k you MTV, F**king F**kers!" Then Gollum does the fingers, and stomps off, leaving a very embarrassed Andy Sirkus standing there. Cut back to the audience, theres Elijah Wood (Frodo) clapping, and even tho you can't hear it, if you read his lips he's saying "That was f**king amazing". F***k yeah.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Hiphop nonstop.
Its been a hip hop-heavy week. Wednesday saw Philly's finest The Roots hit the stage at the St James for a two hour jam, and the weekend bought the Aotearoa Hiphop Summit back to Auckland for the third time in its 4 year history.

I wrote a whole bunch of stuff about it - read more over at Public Address.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Once Were Muthaf**kin warriors.
Allhiphop.com reports that "Ice Cube has signed on to replace Vin Diesel in the sequel to the 2002 action hit, “XxX.” According to Revolution Studios, each subsequent sequel will introduce a new character in the franchise of films.
Vin Diesel starred as an extreme athlete who became a secret agent in the original flick, which was directed by Rob Cohen. Cohen will not direct the sequel and has been replaced by Lee Tamahori, who directed the James Bond thriller, “Die Another Day.” and "Once Were Warriors".

Meanwhile, over on Ebay, Tupac Shakur's Hummer is back up for bids. Seems the winner of the previous auction didn't have the money to pay, and neither did the second highest bidder.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Red, White and Bland.
The White Stripes got interviewed on hip and groovy ol' TV3's News last night - the story consisted of the reporter making three rather bland points - that the White Stripes have been described as the saviours of modern rock n roll, which Jack White was rightly dismissive of; that he has been romantically linked to movie star Renee Zellweger, which Jack replied to, saying that he was interested in the creative life, not the public life, and when he goes to a musem to look at paintings, he's not interested in what Salvador Dali had for breakfast; and the reporters final comment was on their ticket price of $80, saying for that much they better be good. He also mentioned that Kate Moss was in their last video, for I Don't Know What to do with Myself; but made no mention of Burt Bacharach. Not the most impressive piece of research on the questions front. Sigh.
All I could think was how cool it would have been to see Dylan Taite interviewing the White Stripes. His presence is sorely missed from our screens.

There's a panther wandering round Ashburton, Roy Horn (of Sigfried and Roy) gets critically injured by one of his tigers on stage in Las Vegas, and the New York Police have to deal with a 400 pound tiger being kept in a Harlem housing project. The tigers owner, Antoine Yates, went to hospital for treatment for 'pit bull bites', but hospital staff were sceptical and alerted police, who discovered the tiger living in Yates 5th floor apartment. Yates also had an caiman (alligator-like creature), and had kept them for the last two years.
"Yates, increasingly hard-pressed to control the tiger, apparently decamped to a nearby apartment. He continued to feed the beast by throwing raw chickens through a door opened just narrowly enough to keep a paw the size of a lunch plate from swiping through, neighbours said.
The big cat-ty family started to unravel on Wednesday when Ming the tiger mauled Yates, 37, as he tried to stop him from attacking a pet kitten.
Yates bought the tiger from a couple in Minnesota, who also sold him a lion cub. It wasn't in the apartment when Police went in - where is it?
Here's some pictures of the tiger.
Reports of the tigers weight vary between 400 and 600 pounds. Some news reports also claim it was in a Manhattan apartment, not a Harlem one.
Its just so ghetto.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Bring the noise
Chuck D and LL Cool J testified at a senate hearing on recent legal action by the recording industry to stop file sharing recently.
MTV.com says that Chuck D wasn't about to let online freedoms be curbed. "P2P to me means power to the people," he said. "I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these [record] companies."
LL used a rather bizarre metaphor to render the practice of illegal file-sharing down to its basic element: stealing. "If a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into it for free, just because he's successful?" asked Mr. Cool J, as he was addressed at the hearing. "Should they be able to live in this building for free? That's how I feel when I create an album or when I make a film and it's shooting around the planet for free."
What kind of werd-ass housing arrangement is LL down with? If you read that back, in a sense its like he's saying sharing files is like living in a house that someone else had built. Let him keep working for the man.
And Chuck D? He's still on point. This is from his column on PE's website...
"... 911 is no joke now… and here we are two years later... the truths are still hazy and tucked. Thousands of people perished two years ago from a day of tragic infamy. Today the aftermath of the IRAQ invasion, as well as the AFGAN bum rush also has thousands killed, soldiers are getting knocked off on both sides... the Middle East has a suicide bombing every week and can’t get it together, the peeps keep catching hell, and the headz are all still here. The names BUSH, BIN LADEN, RUMSFELD, COLIN, CONDE and SADDAM all sound like characters from an HBO TV show. Again, somebody’s not telling the truth. Governments are the cancer of civilization."

Monday, October 06, 2003

San Quentin, I hate every inch of you.
I ended up watching two tv programs this weekend featuring prisons. Friday was Breaking the Silence: Truth and lies in the war on terror, a documentary by journalist John Pilger (thanks to the NZ Herald for thoughtfully renaming the show The War is a Fraud, just in case you weren’t familiar with Pilgers leftie leanings), and the other was Johhny Cash Live at San Quentin.
Pilger set about examining the war in Iraq, backgrounding the reasons given by the American and British leaders for the war. He picked apart their flimsy justifications, til there was nothing left but bones. It was very depressing.
He showed more of those sickening images of the prisoners of war, or 'enemy combatants' as the US calls them, held in shackles, blindfolds and masks in Guatanamo Bay. The 641 detainees have no rights under the Geneva Convention, as the US doesn't consider them POW's, and they haven’t been charged with anything. They’re in limbo.
He interviewed such US neo conservative hawks like William Kristol, who wrote the document for the right wing group Project for a New American Century suggesting Saddam's removal(supporters include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, John Bolton). When Pilger asked him about Americas new role, in attacking solid democracies, he said they have never done that. Pilger corrected him, noting that America has intervened in other countries 72 times since the Second World War. You really don't try and play fast and loose with a journalist of the calibre of Pilger; he does his homework. Kirstol responded by saying that Pilgers claims were ludicrous. Cut to a list in alphabetical order, scrolling down your tv screen, naming all the countries. When he interviewed US Undersecretary of State John Bolton, after the interview finished, Bolton made a dig at Pilger, saying “Are you a member of the Labour party?” Pilger shot back, “no they’re the conservatives in my country”. “You must belong to the communist party,” replied Bolton, laughing. Yeah, funny.
A former senior CIA officer and personal friend of George Bush senior said that when Bush senior was in the Whitehouse, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld were commonly known as ‘the crazies’. That’s what the Whitehouse thought of them, then. Now, they’re in power. Pilger dug up footage of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, back in 1992, when the US was supplying Iraq with chemical weapons.
Watching this made me think how can powerful men live with themselves, when they appear on my tv night after night telling lies to maintain their status quo? Pilger’s final words talked of there now being two superpowers, the US government of George W Bush, and the rising tide of public opinion. He talked of the battle between these two forces, closing with the observation that "If we remain silent, victory over us is assured."

And there’s the late Johnny Cash, singing "San Quentin, I hate every inch of you..." inside San Quentin, to the prisoners, back in 1969. You wouldn't get away with that today; the powers that be woudn't allow it. They'd want to vet your material, check your lyrics first. The modern equivalent might be letting Ice T into a jail in LA to sing Cop Killer.
Cash's performance is amazing; what a brilliant storyteller. He talks about a song he wrote, about getting arrested in Mississippi for picking flowers, and spending a night in jail. "Imagine what they'd do if I'd picked an apple!"
The latter part of the film is intercut with prisoners telling their crimes, and it comes to one prisoner who tells about going to a party, making a pass at a girl, and at the end of the night there's just him, the girl, and her 12 year old son, who was in bed asleep. He and the woman were on the couch, the son comes in and says what are you doing to my mother, and the guy ended up strangling them both - he didn't know why he did it. He got taken to court, found guilty and the judge sentenced him to death. The rest of the film switched between Johnny Cash's performance (including the first public performance of A Boy Named Sue), the prisoner, shots of the gas chamber, and a guard describing the routine of a condemned prisoner. Sometimes I despair for this world, and then I just get angry. Hats off to Bruce Springsteen for saying impeach the President.

I went to the Auckland vs Northland rugby game at Eden Park on Saturday - watched Auckland run out onto the field to my song R U Ready, for the second time. As they ran out I turned to the field, and there they were - half a dozen of those agile young women for the Auckland Sky City Cheerleaders on the sideline facing the stands, dancing one of their routines.... to my song! It doesn’t get much better than that, aye.
Auckland won 50-17, moving up from 8th to 4th in the NPC championship. I wanted to get there earlier, as the Black Ferns (NZs world champions womens rugby team) were playing a World XV - I saw the last ten minutes. There was absolutely nothing about the game in The Saturday Herald, and the Sunday Star Times had no coverage of the game either - good on you, tv news for covering the game. The Black Ferns won 37 nil. They are seriously good.

Thanks to the Guardian’s list of the top 40 bands in Britain today, I now know that there is a band in the UK called Selfish Cunt. For some weird reason, the Sugarbabes sit at number 14 while Mr Scruff is at number 38. That is just wrong.