Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Funky good time
James Brown is playing live in Auckland, one night only, March 31!!! Tickets go on sale Monday Feb 23. So you're thinking, he's an old cat now, will he still be any good?
Heres a review from Public Enemy's Chuck D, who caught a show in Spetember last year...

"Indeed, I made sure I caught the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown, live and in concert last month. The plan was for myself and KYLE JASON to head east on Long Island on Friday, August 29th, to catch his show. Earlier in the week DJ Johnny Juice and I tripped out to Indianapolis to do an ad for Klipsch audio speakers, and my plans were to head back east from Chicago to catch it.

Coming outta Chicago that Friday my flight was delayed, thus I arrived at LaGuardia late. Kyle made sure he left with Bones, a bass player/journalist buddy of ours. I prepared myself to hear that I missed the show of the decade and, true to form, Kyle came back and was speechless. One and a half hours of pure dynamite stick. He told me that the same James we had seen on our video tapes from the past 20 years, sped up super medley “Living In America,” was not the same James he’d just witnessed in action. He had just seen Jaaaaaaames in all his glory. Complete from the MC DANNY RAY intro at the top. He told me that I had to see it, and the band was the actual funked timed thang that the records bore, even more. Damn! I missed it.

Immediately we went to the web, www.funky-stuff.com, and peeped a concert schedule. On that great site it showed that he was gonna be at Chastain Park in the ATL that Sunday. Whoa! But first I had to get up north of the border to Toronto to keynote at their urban music conference, which I spent my day doin. Thus jetting to ATL on Sunday was a later transition whereas I just got to the venue in the nick of time. Running in at 9:15pm the lights had just gone down for DANNY RAY to intro the hardest working man still in show business.

When Mr. Brown took the stage the ATL immediately roared for their Georgia son. The very first cut was “Make It Funky” signifying that James and the Soul Generals were gonna pull some joints out the bag. Highlights included JB doing two microphone stand tricks that left the crowd stunned as if MIKE JORDAN threw it. Bursts of dance energy came at the crowd and wowed them. At 70 he moved, grooved, and cold sweated us to death. He had a dance spotlight for a lady he’d known ever since she was a young girl. Dressed in high white boots and hot pants they proceeded to rip the same cut. SOUL POWER, PAYBACK and even a funked up LIVING IN AMERICA banged the crowd. This was JAMES BROWN in his 70s doing it like he did it in the 1970s. No doubt. The double drummers even played high speed funk thru the finale of SEX MACHINE when the venue cut the power, as it’s known to do. The point is that it was more turbo energy than cats twice his age using multimedia crutches."

Entertain us...
I wouldn't normally give Courtney Love the time of day, but this interview is worth a read. The interviewer also talked with her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.

...We chatted about building snowmen (she'd just done that for the first time during a trip to the Northwest), her mom's new album ("I've heard some of it, but I really like Good Charlotte," she said) and my job.
"Did you ever interview my dad?" she asked with a sparkle in piercing blue eyes that are eerily like her father's.
I told her that I had, back when she was still in diapers, shortly before the release of Nirvana's "In Utero." At one point, Cobain had asked me if I had any kids; I said I was expecting a daughter, and that the prospect of fatherhood scared the hell out of me. "No, it's the greatest thing in the world," he said. "You'll see."
Frances smiled when I recounted the story. "Oh," she said. Read the interview here.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Fun and games in the music industry
from allhiphop.com...
Lil Flip has started Clover G Records & said that he is no longer signed
to Sucka Free Records. "Flip is still signed to the label," Sucka Free CEO Duane 'Hump' Hobbs told AllHipHop.com. "The only way I will let him go is if Sony [Lil Flips label] buys me out. Go grab your lawyer & let's get cracking." The falling out revolves around financial disputes. "If you say that we spent a million dollars on something, I want to see that," Flip retorted. "If we cool and you my homey, show me everything."
Bring on the accountants....

oh yeah, did you read about that talented cat Nathan Haines in the Sunday Star Times? He used to be a junkie (like some of his jazz idols) but he's all right now. No more Class A drugs, says our Nate. Glad to hear it. You aint gonna be around long on that stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Livin large
There's Hugh Hefner swanning around his Playboy Mansion surrounded by a sea of breasts, talking about his life. Somehow this two hour homage to the man (made by his own company, Playboy Enterprises) made it into TV3's Documentary slot. Strange. Still, the archive footage of Hugh's old tv shows was pretty cool, and he was candid about certain aspects of his life, such as living in a house with six girlfriends;
"My life is an open book" said Hugh, "with really great illustrations!" Hefner pays $US1.1m in rent annually to Playboy Enterprises for his mansion.
What do Lemmy from Motorhead and Hugh Hefner have in common? Why, Viagra, of course. Here's Lemmy's 12 Questions, from the Playboy website.

Speechwriter David Slack has some good comments on Don Brash's controversial speech, noting that what Brash was trumpeting on about were vague notions that had wide appeal, or as he sees it "baseless unsubstantiated assertions." He's set up a great pop quiz on his site to see just how much you know about the issues behind his speech. Take the test, you'll learn something about the treaty claims etc. I scored so-so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Do fries go with that shake?
The same day McDonalds launch their new healthy salads and wraps range with corporate mouthpiece NZ cyclist Sarah Ulmer, Consumer magazine announces that McDonalds have come out tops in a survey on the fattiest fries.

"It found McDonald's fries were the least healthy, containing almost 17 grams of fat per 100g, despite the company's recent change from using saturated beef fat to a vegetable oil for the final cooking stage of its chips.
McDonald's fries had more than three times the fat content of Pizza Haven chips which, at just 4.5g of fat and 721 kilojoules per 100g, were the overall winners in the survey.
At present McDonald's uses beef fat in the factories which make and precook its fries, but by May this year, all chips will be cooked in vegetable oil for the entire process." Burger King, Nandos, and KFC were just behind McDs.

I've been reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (heres a few interviews with him, here and here), and he outlines how McDonalds have claimed that their fries are part of their restaurant range that is suitable for vegetarians. They later denied it, but found themselves in court being sued by Seattle lawyer Harish Bharti, on behalf of unhappy Hindus (there are 1 million Hindus and 15 million vegetarians in the US).

"Word of the Seattle lawsuit became big news in India, whose Hindu population does not eat beef for religious reasons. Indians held anti-McDonald's protests, vandals hit one restaurant, and some radical Hindu groups called for the fast-food chain to leave the country."

"The company apologized for any confusion surrounding beef flavoring in its U.S. french fries. McDonald's has said it adds a small amount of beef extract while the potatoes are cooked.
News reports on the case outraged some Hindus in India, who smashed windows at McDonald's franchises. McDonald's said fries sold in India have never been flavored with beef extract."

The lawsuit was settled in 2002; "McDonalds has agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups to settle lawsuits filed against the chain for mislabeling french fries and hash browns as vegetarian.

McDonald's also posted an apology on its Web site, acknowledging that mistakes were made in communicating to customers and the public about the ingredients in the fries and hash browns. The vegetable oil used to prepare the fries and hash browns was not pure, but contained essence of beef for flavoring purposes. Many Hindus consider cows sacred and do not eat beef."

McDonalds in NZ proudly proclaim on their website that they are NZs biggest first time employer, which is kind of like saying 'look, we hire lots of teenagers so we can pay them minimum wage!' The annual turnover of staff in fast food restaurants is often close to 100%. Go figure. Can't wait to see Morgan Spurlocks a film called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. He ate McDonalds for a month, at every meal. He gained 12kg. Now that's suffering for your art, don't you think?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Don Brash - contortionist.
He managed to put not one, but both feet in his mouth over the weekend.... check the following quotes....

...Dr Brash, who was part of Dame Silvia's official party at Government House, said his reference to the "one people" term was not about making New Zealand a homogeneous nation. "I'm very comfortable with different cultures. Clearly. I've got a Chinese wife."

"Many employers faced with the choice of hiring a Maori or non-Maori of equal qualifications, equal merit, might very well choose the non-Maori, because of the risk that the Maori might be away for a significant chunk of time".
Is he talking about Maori tangi's? Their funerals only last three days. Or maybe its to do with Maori life expectancy being ten years less than Pakeha, they all drop off a bit sooner. Or maybe he is referring to low income Maori who can't afford decent health care, so they just get sick and stay home. What planet is this fool on?
He says the issue is that the Government should be dealing with all NZers on the basis of need, not race. At the low income end of the spectrum, 22 % of Pakeha students leaver school with no qualifications; 35% of Maori in the same group. The Sunday Star Times came up with a bunch more statistics like this one; for example, race-based funding in health - those programmes specifically targeted for Maori - amount to about 2% of the health budget. Maori make up 15.4 per cent of the population. More here.

Wonder if Don took the Chinese wife to the Lantern Festival?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Whipped Cream and other delights.
This week's Listener has some great stories by Steve Braunias on LP cover art, from local fella Jack Thompson, who put out 1 LP a year for about 20 years thru EMI (they've just reissued a few of them), and England's Mrs Mills. Unfortunately the Listeners website deprives you of these glorious covers, so you'll just have to buy a copy. Braunias notes that the reissue cd covers "are bland; and in any case, a mere CD could never do justice to the original Thompson LP sleeves. This is a man who needed the big picture, a big canvas, to work his unholy art."

I remember once seeing a copy of an album by Mrs Mills that was a copy of the cover of Herb Alperts Whipped Cream and other delights, which featured a curvy young woman by the name of Delores Erickson naked, and covered head to toe in cream, which was pretty saucy back in 1965. Now, Mrs Mills was a rather solid English lass, so I really want to find this record! (Extensive Googling produced nothing.)
There was a number of other parodies of this cover; this site has a few of them linked if you scroll down the page.

The cover model for Alperts cover was interviewed by the Seattle Times in 2000 (link here - requires registration).

"The only whipped cream was on my head," Erickson recalls. "The rest was shaving cream on cotton. And the shaving cream kept slipping."
She was also three months pregnant.
Photographers routinely give models rejected prints for their portfolios. When Woorf sent the copies, Erickson was shocked at how much the slipped shaving cream revealed.
"I called a girlfriend and took them to her house. We hid them behind her refrigerator because I didn't want my husband to see them," she said. "I still have them, and now they look tame."
There's an alternate shot from the cover shoot here. Dolores also garners a mention at swingingchicks.com.
Reading the messages posted by various American record collectors, it seems that you will find a copy of this record in absolutely every thrift shop and flea market in the States (quote: "there isn't a charity store in the world that doesn't have at least two copies of this"), much like every junk shop in NZ will have a copy of the soundtrack to South Pacific. One fellow asks if anyone can help him collect multiple copies of it, as he is covering an entire wall in his house with it! Ah, wacky Americans.
Mary Tyler Moore also featured on a number of LP covers - take a look here. For more ridiculous covers, check Franks Vinyl Museum, including Muhammad Ali vs Mr Tooth Decay.

One of my local favorites in wacky cover art is Howard Morrison Quartets album Potpourri, that features Howie and the lads wearing chefs hats and throwing veges and pots round a bright orange studio set. (scroll down to see it). Got any local gems I should look out for?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The pun never ends
Heres a few Janet Jackson headlines...

The boob tube
A little show and no tell
Breasts of Mass Destruction?
'Breast Bowl' outrage is just tempest in a D cup
Janet wins titillation booby prize
Bush sleeps through Janet's 'boob show'
Any boob is good news
The Breast and the Brightest
Boobgate Broohaha Builds
MTV not a bust for Viacom
Tit for tat
'Right Breast Stole My Thunder' Says Super Bowl Streaker

Hey is Janet's breast a weapon of mass distraction?

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Get your freak off.
Janet Jackson succumbed to a "wardrobe malfunction" according to Justin Timberlake ("I'm sorry if anyone was offended... It wasn't intentional and is regrettable"), who 'accidentally' ripped off part of her top during the Superbowl halftime show on Sunday, exposing her breast. He was singing a duet with Ms Jackson; Rock Your Body, the song in question, ends with the line, 'Cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song.' Surprised?
So, MTV claims it was an accident, so does Timberlake, CBS apologises, the NFL are very disappointed, and you still think it was unplanned? Look at the Heralds photo; Jackson is wearing some kind of silver nipple ring over her nipple. So, she wears that all the time? I don't think so. Check this photo sequence. Why has no one in the media discussed this nipple ring? There is a story there, probably too kinky for mainstream media. Someone will pick it up.
The Drudge Report claims CBS execs knew about the stunt beforehand. Check the pic of that pierced nipple. Yep. It was staged. Still, Janet did a great job of taking the media spotlight of her wayward brother, Michael.
And there was a streaker. He had the name of a gambling website written on his chest. This foolish Englishman was levelled by a New England linebacker. Naked Pom vs heavily padded athlete.

Shame it detracted from a great game; predictions before were it was going to be the dullest Superbowl ever. There was no points on the board til the end of the second quarter, the longest a game has gone without points in Superbowl's history.
The third quarter was scoreless, then the fourth quarter it all happened. The lead swapped twice, then the Carolina Panthers tied the score with 68 seconds to go, at 29 all. Four seconds from full time the New England Patriots kicked a field goal, and won 32 - 29. Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning goal; he did the same stunt two years ago in the Superbowl. He's Evel Knievel's cousin. I don't fully understand Gridiron, but the BBC have a useful primer on it here. The Beeb compared Vinatieri's last minute kick to Johnny Wilkinsons performance in the Rugby World Cup final, noting that Wilkinson "has confessed that he finds the possibility of an eventual move to the NFL appealing" something to do with a $US2-3 million salary?

UPDATE: MTV (affiliated to CBS thru Viacom) promised 'Janet's shocking moments' before the game. MTV has wiped the page from its site - see googles cache for the page. Drudge says that Janet now claims that the nudity was deliberate, saying that Timberlake was supposed to rip away only the top layer and leave a bit of red lace behind... Mr and Ms Stupid dancing like fools....

Brash, or just plain foolish?
Don Brash continues to divide his own party, telling National's only Maori MP Georgina te Heuheu to toe the party line after his dubious speech, which he now claims is National party policy - Te Heuheu dryly observing on TV3News last night that if it was indeed party policy, it was sorely lacking. Today she's been stripped of her Maori Affairs portfolio, and been replaced by a honkie, Gerry Brownlee. While this might seem ridiculous, if National ends up in power and follows thru on Brash's contrversial speech, they will abolish Maori Affairs, hence appointing a honkie won't look so silly - his post won't exist, under a Brash-led Government. And the only reason Brash got away with the speech playing the race card is that Winston Peters, who usually has that bag sewn up, was otherwise engaged in dodging free dinner allegations.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Get on a good foot
James Brown has been arrested for domestic violence - check out the police mugshot. Scary. He was release without bail. He is due to play some shows down this way in April, over in Australia. If he's not in jail.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I can see the music...
On my lunchbreak I stood in Whitcoulls and read the interview with Shayne Carter in the new Rip It Up magazine. True to form, he was his usual guarded self, as is the wont of someone with a healthy distrust of the media. However, Shaynes's discovered the joys of blogging - check his guest spot at Public Address. Its also a nifty piece of promotion for his forthcoming Dimmer album (go the cross-marketing!), and a much more interesting read than the numerous press interviews that Carter no doubt endured/will endure on the promotional rounds.

Some of my workmates eat McDonalds for breakfast, and Wendys for lunch. Its truly appalling; how can they do that to their stomachs? Basically, I think that if you eat shit, you feel like shit. Simple food logic.
Now someone has taken this to its logical extreme: Morgan Spurlock has made a film called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. Its the talk of the Sundance Film Festival. He ate McDonalds for a month, at every meal. He gained 12kg.

"Neither Spurlock, 33, nor the three doctors who agreed to monitor his health during the experiment were prepared for the degree of ruin it would wreak on his body. Within days, he was vomiting up his burgers and battling with headaches and depression. And his sex drive vanished.
When Spurlock had finished, his liver, overwhelmed by saturated fats, had virtually turned to pate. "The liver test was the most shocking thing," said Dr Daryl Isaacs, who joined the team to watch over him. "It became very, very abnormal."
McDonald's has finally been forced to comment. "Consumers can achieve balance in their daily dining decisions by choosing from our array of quality offerings and range of portion sizes to meet their taste and nutrition goals," it said in a statement last week."
In an inteview with Newsweek, Spurlock describes how he felt at end of the month...
[Laughs] I felt terrible! I felt so bad because I put on this weight so quickly my knees hurt. I was so depressed. I would eat and I would feel so good because I would get all that sugar and caffeine and fat and I would feel great. And an hour later I would just crash—I would hit the wall and be angry and depressed and upset. I was a disaster to live with. My girlfriend by the end was like “you have to stop because I’ve had it.” [She's a vegan].

While the rest of NZ gets caught up in endless pre-Oscar hype, there's a Kiwi getting mention at Sundance....

"No documentary was more timely or disturbing than "Persons of Interest." Filmmakers Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse conducted a series of interviews with Arab and Muslim immigrants who were swept up in the post-9/11 hysteria and imprisoned, often with no charges filed against them and no legal recourse. The film has an elegant, almost formal, simplicity; all the interviews are conducted in a bare room suggestive of a jail cell. The 12 stories we hear illustrate all too clearly the human cost of a Justice Department that has abandoned fundamental human rights in its indiscriminate campaign against terrorism. But the film never raises its voice to propagandize. It doesn't need to."

Friday, January 23, 2004

Choke on your biscotti
Starbucks coffee terminology examined. Why tall equals small.

GW Bush said in his State of the Union speech that "hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure..." And yet Lyle Lovett is too scared to leave the US and play here, just like US author E Annie Proulx, who delayed her visit here til after the Iraq War. Feel secure?
Russell Brown noted that "After Bush's State of the Union speech last year, a couple of correspondents ticked me off for being churlish about the billions promised to fight Aids in Africa. Well, a year later, not a penny of those billions has been allocated - and 2005 Aids funding has been cut."

Its a great weekend for getting out and checking some local sounds, Dancing in the Streets up on Beresford Square in K Rd friday night, and BFMs Summer Series in Albert Park on sunday. Summer in AK is looking mighty fine right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Love is the drug.
"Always follow your own way rather than look to others. And get very good lawyers - if you can have them as part of your family that's even better."
Singer Bryan Ferry (playing here late January) offers up some practical advice to musicians starting out.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Belinda Henley makes stuff up.
TV3 gets thumbs up for its Big Day Out coverage, putting it near the top of its friday night news bulletin, with a live cross to the event with TV3s entertainment reporter Belinda Henley live at the BDO. She introduced her prerecorded report, which included the Black Eyed Peas, who, according to Henley, had been here twice before, but this was their first time at the Big Day Out. WRONG!! If she'd done her research, or read the numerous interviews in magazines or newspapers with the band in recent weeks, she would know they played here at the Big Day Out 3 years ago, with some controversy - one of their members got stopped at Customs and sent home after being found in possession of some dope. Thumbs down.
TVOne managed a live cross as well, with some amusing comments from their reporter on interviewing Metallica - she was surprised at their backstage area - a room for guitar tuning, a room for dressing, a room for eating, but when you've sold 90 million records, you can get whatever you want, she observed.

Apparently The Darkness are getting so popular in the UK that there are tribute bands dedicated to them. Three of them so far - The Lightness, The Daftness, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Darkness. As reported in the latest issue of Q magazine. Honest.