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? ( 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.)