Monday, May 03, 2004

Why Aston Kutcher is a moron
From allhiphop.com... "A prank from the MTV show "Punk'd" has reportedly gone wrong when host Ashton Kutcher and crew attempted to trick Black Eyed Peas into a fake arrest. According to published reports, the BEP entourage began fighting with the shows fake cops after the attempted apprehension within a brothel."
They may be making them cheesy crossover hiphop/pop hits, but damn, don't mess with those Black Eyed Peas.

Friday, April 30, 2004

The real deal
Last night I caught The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, which screens nightly on Triangle TV. They had about 40 minutes of indepth coverage, focussing on developments in Fallujah, followed by a group of experts with diverging opinions discussing UN rep Brahimi's plans for Iraq which was quite lively, and then an indepth look at the cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, American citizens being held as enemy combatants - do they have the constitututional rights to a trial? They had a legal expert discussing the case, with audio excerpts from the courtroom. It was fascinating, detailed news reporting, and what surprised me was two things - one, it was far superior to anything on the mainstream tv channels, and two, it originated in America.

It sure beats the poor excuses TV3 seems to come up with for their lead stories on the 6pm news. Remember a few weeks back when they thought the identity of a mystery lotto winner was a lead story, over the renewed fighting in Fallujah? Try playing this game - we do it in our house frequently these days - start watching TV3's news til the lead story starts, then switch to TVOne and see what their lead is. And I'm over the sheep story - flogging a dead fleece? Ouch.


From Radio RDU's The Joint show...
We struck gold last week when we checked out Fluxblog and came across a entry about the 1971 album Bill Cosby Talks To Kids About Drugs. You heard right - Bill Cosby Talks To Kids About Drugs. We happen to use a sample from the very same album for our show promo and get a lot of people asking us where we got it from - but until this point we had never bothered trying to track it down.
It's a strangely compelling album - Bill er... talks to kids about drugs (and those little kids seem to know a bit about drugs), Bill breaks into twisted freaky songs (Captain Junkie has to be heard to believed), and there are some great funky breakdowns going on. So now you know...

DJ Danger mouse mashed up the Beatles with Jay Z, now someone has done Jay Z meets Pavement! It's called The Slack Album.
"London Booted is essential listening, a bootleg mash-up of the entire Clash London Calling LP made by some of the best bootleg djs in the biz. McSleazy's "Lost Souls in The Supermarket," Miss Frenchie's "Fuck Em Boyo" ("Wrong Em Boyo" + "Fuck The Pain Away"!!!), Jimmi James' "This Girl Wants A Cheat," and Blo-Up's mix of Tiga's "Burning Down" and "London Calling" are all must-hears.," says Fluxblog.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Holmes caught in new foot in mouth outbreak.
"A confused bag of lard," was Holmes's description of Turia as she wrestles with how she will vote on the Government's Foreshore and Seabed Bill. He made the comments on his Newstalk ZB morning show yesterday.
Yesterday's outburst focused on Turia's apparent indecision over the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.
"She (Turia) ain't got the guts to vote," Holmes said after talking to Prime Minister Helen Clark on air.
"Like all bullies she (Turia) is folding under pressure."
"Tariana Turia has been shown to be all mouth and no trousers – all talk and no walk. In the end she don't want to lose the cars and perks." ... taken from stuff.co.nz
Mister Holmes, I think I hear retirement calling you....


Toazted.com has free MP3 interviews with Chuck D, John Cale, The Datsuns, DJ Shadow and more. Have a listen - large files tho, you will need a speedy connection to download them. Unfortunately there's little information on who did the interviews, so no vouching for the quality.


He didn't want to keep his ex-wifes wedding dress, so he was going to burn it. Then his sister told him to put it on Ebay. Read his story, its very entertaining...

"..Personally, I think it looks like a $1200 shower curtain, but what do I know about this. We tried taking pictures of this lovely white garment but it didn’t look right on the hanger as you can see, so my sister says, "You need a model." Well, quite frankly my sister isn’t exactly small, (like a size 12 is?) so she wouldn’t pose for the picture. Seeing as I have sworn off women for the time being and I ain’t friends with any, it left me holding the bag.
I took the liberty of blacking out my face - not to protect the ex-wife but to protect me from my bar buddies and co-workers finding out about it. I would never live it down. Actually I didn’t think my head would fit in the neck hole, but then I figured she got her Texas cheerleader hair through there I could get my head in it. Though, after looking at the pictures, I thought it made me look fat. How do you women wear this crap? I only had to walk 3 feet and I tripped twice..."

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Whatever.
Thanks to the amazing investigative skills of those diehard journos at TV3's 60 Minutes, I now know what Generation Next think. Oh joy! I also know what an out of touch TV3 journo thinks of the young people of today (thanks to his stream of loaded questions), but that's largely irrelevant.

The reporter rounded up some likely looking young people of today and talked down, I mean talked to them. The kids have been tagged with the overlying attitude 'whatever'. When the journo put this to them, they agreed, saying that they are happy just to go along with whatever happens, just chill and enjoy life. You know, whatever.

The item seemed to suggest that these kids know what they doing, know where they're going, and the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers generally resent them for being so much more confident then they were at that age. They also have no problem with living with massive student debt as they start out their adult life, and they have no illusions about ever owning their own home. What's the long term effect of that likely to be, if it's a major generational trend?

Monday, April 26, 2004

Scribe Outernational.
From the Guardian's arts section, with guest editors - Scottish band Franz Ferdinand (via Hard News - Russell suggested the local equivalent would be getting Dimmer to edit the Star-Times magazine section for a week. I'd like to see the Back of the Y lads edit the Sunday News. Can you picture that?).

"Blog all about it ..."
Salam Pax: A tip on how to make your blog popular: position yourself in a place where a bomb might fall on you. Tickles everybody and makes your hits-counter happy. Possibility of death is a downside, but hey! You get linked by A-list bloggers.

Gregor Wright: It's nice to be able to keep a record of things, but I'm more interested in keeping a record of the minutiae of life that I would otherwise forget rather than a catalogue of inner thoughts and feelings. Nutters on the bus are more interesting than angst. Don't put angst-ridden stuff on the web; write it down and hide it somewhere.


Oliver Wang is a very talented US writer/DJ/editor (check his book Classic Material: The Hiphop Album Guide) who has come across our own Scribe. Here's some of his thoughts via Soul Sides...

"... What's interesting about both these songs is that after years of finding int'l hip-hop (i.e. anything outside the parochialism of American hip-hop) to be subpar, it's pretty damn that at this point, folks outside of the U.S. can easily hang with many of the Yankee rappers out there.

To be sure, Scribe really does owe Jay-Z some royalty points for how blatantly his style borrows from Jay's...their voices aren't that similar but on the album, he uses very similar phrases, from a simple, "yep" to proclaiming, "we made it" just like J does. That said, Scribe's flow is mostly his own and he pops nicely in the pocket with his rhymes, rhyming sans-accent and if you told me dude was out of L.A. or N.Y. I certainly would have believed you without question...." There's more, read the whole review here to get the picture.

Oliver also makes a mean mixtape - check out his latest one of cover versions, and peep his review of the Grey Album. He's even down with Mo Show. Cool.

And here's hiphop meets Hobbits - the Lord of the Rings Rap.

Beatdiggers alert!
Searching for old funky records is a lot of fun, and here's an Oz cat who has set up The Tasman Connection, a tribute to such records from this part of the world. Everything from Renee Gayer to Claude Papesch to Doctor Tree.

And getting back to where we started, I saw the new Dimmer video at the weekend, at Semi-Permanent, a one day design seminar featuring local and overseas designers/animators. Local designers Kelvin Soh & Simon Oosterdijk from The Wilderness talked about designing cd covers (amongst other things) - they did the cover for the new Dimmer album, and Shayne Carter liked it, so he asked them to do his next video. They said yes, and went away and panicked for a bit, as they'd never done a music video. After calling in a few friends for advice, they shot the clip - using 3000 polariod snapshots. Then they talked some mates into scanning all them into a computer, and then they animated the vid. The record company wanted more shots of Shayne and Anika, so they shot another 500 polariods, scanned em in, and animated them. Its for the song Come Here, and it looks absolutely wicked.

Other notable guests were UK designer Vince Frost, a gentleman with a very dry sense of humour, who designed the literary mag Zembla - it's an incredible read; great layout, intelligent content (Seen it once in Mega Mags - somebody please distribute it here!). He talked about one of his projects, a book design for photographer Nan Goldin. She was quite difficult to work with, he said. She was in rehab for 3 months during the books production, after a suicide attempt. Frost said there was also some conflict between Goldin and the publishers - she tried to stab her editor at one point - and his role was more one of mediator than designer. There was some amazing animations, clever fonts - like the embroidered font used by Black and White - inspiring stuff.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

All hail, subserviant chicken!
Okay, it's some tacky fast food promotion, but subserviant chicken is twisted. It's done by a Miami advertising company called Crispin Porter + Bogusky; if you visit their website, they have some more BK ads, plus a video clip called The Package, described as "an unofficial and unauthorized documentary of an inter-office prank."

They've also done ads for the American Legacy Foundation, which includes a homeless man reading out some information about Project Sub Culture Urban Marketing, also known as Project SCUM. It was a campaign set up by a tobacco company in the mid 90s to target gays and homeless people as a potential growth market.

From the SF Weekly: "In its efforts to increase cigarette sales in the mid-1990s, tobacco company R.J. Reynolds hit on a novel bit of niche marketing in San Francisco, according to recently uncovered documents. It created a campaign that focused mainly on two groups of smokers: gays in the Castro and homeless in the Tenderloin [San Francisco]. The company called its new project "subculture urban marketing" and gave it a memorable acronym: "Project SCUM."
Project SCUM details how R.J. Reynolds hoped to capitalize on groups it termed "consumer subcultures," including "alternative lifestyle (gay/Castro)" and "street people (Tenderloin)." The cigarette maker wanted to improve the presence of its venerable Camel brand among gays in San Francisco, amid the relaunch of its retro Red Kamel spinoff in 1996. Meanwhile, plans were being made to push the company's discount brand Doral to Tenderloin residents." Documents on this came to light in 2001.

From thetruth.com...
keyword = :08
Every eight seconds, someone in the world dies due to tobacco.
keyword = Cause
In 1990, a tobacco company put together a plan to stop Coroners from listing tobacco as a cause of death on a death certificate.


Beautiful Music (in Pitt St, off K Rd) are having their closing down sale this weekend, last day saturday. All CDs/Albums $10, 12"s $5. Sad to see em go.

I was going to write something about this picture....

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I'm Having A Bart Moment
I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics, I must not write about Americans and politics (see comments below Steve Earle item)


Speed kills, so do morons.
Karl Tairi; you are a stupid idiot, a coward, a killer, and you should never ever be allowed a drivers licence as long as you live. Eight people in your car, and you think you can escape the Police? No, you crashed into a power pole at speed, killed or injured your mates, and then you ran off from the crash scene.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Five hundred days
I've never been to a mosque - until yesterday.
I went along to a candlelighting service to mark the 500th day of confinement of Ahmed Zaoui in a New Zealand prison, to find out a bit more about this case. The event was organised by Amnesty International, and started out at the Ponsonby Mosque in Vermont St, then crossed the road to the Catholic church. Inside the mosque, after taking off my shoes, two speakers from the mosque talked. One of them, Mr Javed Khan, talked about why was it every time a terrorist was talked about in the news, was it a Muslim terrorist? Someone called out 'because they are', which sent a wave of tension through the room. One of the organisers jumped in, saying 'that's out of order'. (Later, before heading over to the church, the same organiser said that 'we're here to support Ahmed Zaoui, and anyone who feels they can't probably shouldn't be here'. No room for dissenters here.)

Mr Khan went on to talk about how these terrorists were doing what they did for political reasons, not religious ones. He talked about the hatred being generated by talkback hosts and their listeners on radio, and thanked TV1, TV3 and Radio NZ for attending, and sent out a plea for them to please report what they saw in a fair and balanced way.

The Catholic reverend and bishop were in the mosque too. Their counterparts from the mosque came across the road (I wonder how often they visit each other?), and several people spoke, including Amnesty Internationals NZ executive director Ced Simpson. He talked about the sticker he was wearing, that says Ahmed Zaoui - Freedom or Fair Trial. He was wearing it on Friday, catching a plane back from Wellington, waiting in the airport with 60 other passengers for a flight that was eventually cancelled, when a man came up to him and engaged him in a conversation about the sticker, opening with 'You're a bloody disgrace'.

I've been trying to find out more information on Zaoui's case, and it's not easy, especially as Aunty Helen won't release all the information on the case in the interests of national security - her "Helen knows best" attitude is getting up my nose, like her snide comments on the Refugee Status Appeals Authority last week. She's started making an annoying habit of fumbling the ball too often, like the Blues (what was that shambles all about?).

I think Zaoui is entitled to his day in court. He deserves a fair hearing. That's how we do things here, isn't it?
Amnesty International says 'It is a red herring to suggest that a fair trial is not possible because a full disclosure of the sources of specific classified information would endanger New Zealand's security. How a fair hearing can be conducted within national security constraints has been clearly established in Canada and, in cases before and since 11 September 2001, by the European Court of Human Rights.'

And I think Rosemary Mcleod calling Zaoui a dodgy person (and we have enough dodgy persons here already, she claims) is not the sharpest piece of journalism to emerge from the Sunday Star Times. Her logic is dodgy, that's for sure. People are being sucked in because Zaoui is charismatic? Bah.

If you want to find out more about this, check Amnesty's site, or the NZ Herald also has their own take on events.


If you're a Kiwi musician, have a look at the latest issue of North and South magazine - there's an excellent article by Hannah Sperber on Eldred Stebbing and his family business, Stebbings Recording Studios. Its a fascinating insight into one of the great pioneers of the Kiwi music scene, and also contains some sobering tales of how not to make your first album, from the likes of The Dudes and Hello Sailor.

The Dudes first album was done as a deal with Stebbing, where he gave them free studio time,and in return the band gave Stebbing the rights to their album - he owns it, not the band. With Sailor, they have been a little more forthright in claiming their royalties from sales; Harry Lyon talks about how he's been shut out by Stebbings, after hounding them for many many years to get a bits of money out of them. We're talking about albums that feature Kiwi classics like Gutter Black and Right First Time.


And thumbs up to Brooke Fraser on 20/20's cheesy item on Kiwi musicians who are Christians (Zed, Steriogram, Fraser), with her response to the question on how do people take her being a Christian? "When I talk to other musicians, if I say I'm into new age or Buddha', they go 'wow, thats really spiritual', but when I say 'I'm a Christian' people go 'Ohhhh' " (Brooke does the obligatory look of disgust). She says that she goes to church and shakes her booty - "its my mission to bring bootyshaking back to church!" Still can't stand her music, tho.


How grammatically sound are you? Take the test.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Stuck in Texas
Country rocker Steve Earle is in the country for some shows. Can't say I like his music, but he is one sharp cookie.
This quote is from Graham Reid's interview with him in the Herald...

Q: Do you find that when you have a distance from America you can see it differently - you mention [the song] Jerusalem [was] written in Melbourne.

A: Absolutely, because Americans are unique in that we're arguably the most insular country in the world and the vast majority of Americans never leave the country.

Q: Most don't even hold passports.

A: Yeah, even our president didn't have a passport before he was president. That's frightening.

I have heard that only 10% of all Americans ever hold a passport during their lifetimes. Thank god for the great Kiwi OE.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

OneLung
Me mate Kevin Tutt, who makes music as OneLung, has been trekking round the country as part of Monkey Records showcase tour, starting in Invercargill, and working their way north. The tour is coming to a close, with gigs in Hamilton (Friday 16 April, Catalyst), Rotorua (Sat 17 April, Bar Barella), Whangarei (Friday April 30, Adrenalin), Leigh Sawmill (Sat May 1), and The Odeon in Auckland (May 8). Get along; there's a free 16 track Monkey Magic sampler CD available on the door.
He's also got his mug in this weeks Listener, which will no doubt make his Mum proud. According to the accompanying article, OneLungs latest album (his fourth) Nu Scientist is Monkey Records biggest seller to date, helped along by the video his record company made, for the princely sum of $168.70 Nu Scientist is a tasty mash up of drum n bass grooves, lazy beats and experimental soundscapes. It's choice. Check it out.
From Flipside...
"Radar is a New Zealand comedian and this country's only known War tourist. For more about him, go to radarswebsite.com .
He appeared on FLIPSIDE on Tuesday 14 April 2004 [???]."
Read his replies to viewer questions here. Can't wait to see his film!


Meanwhile, in Stupidville...
TVNZ's website trumpets that Flipside has been so successful last year that they are increasing its running from two to four nights a week, and adding Flipside Late...

"It's double the dose of Flipside in 2004, as TV2 extends the show from two to four nights a week (Monday - Thursday, at 6pm, with Flipside Late on-air at 10.30pm).
Flipside 's extended format is due to the positive results from research conducted by both TVNZ and New Zealand on Air, says TV2 Manager of Programmes, Julia Baylis.
"It's an initiative TV2 has been working on for some time and we are very proud to see it continue to grow this year, as part of our expanded and ongoing commitment to youth programming."

So why have they now shifted it to the deadzone of 5pm weeknights? Are they determined to lose their audience? (according to Radiation, "rumour has it that it will be replaced altogether, just as it has become established... Presumably, it's a victim of its own success").
I have enjoyed catching Flipside - its lively, entertaining, intelligent, and often more engaging than TV3 or One's News hour (Hello TV3 - a publicity-shy Lotto Winner is not a lead story - the escalating violence in Fallujah is). Anyone in their twenties who has a day job will no longer watch it, which surely must be part of their youth audience. Bill Ralston, wake the f*ck up. Thank you. (And I didn't even mention the Charter, or Headliners.)


I missed this, but Flipside did a good story on Martin Emond's passing. There's a video clip of their item. His friends talk about him, and Steve from Illicit says that they are opening an Illicit tattoo shop up on K Rd, as a tribute to Marty - he had just started training as a tattooist in LA before he died, and Steve notes that if Marty had a home anywhere, it was definitely on K Rd. Throw up ya goats.

Illicict has put up some photos of Marty and the text of part of his memorial service. Its worth a read if you gave a damn about Marty.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

How Bizarre
I missed some of the weekend papers, due to being outta town for a meaterific time (ie the long weekend I ate meat), but I caught up with the Sunday Star Times article on whatever happened to Pauly Fuemana of OMC fame [have added article at bottom of this post]. Its a lurid piece of journalism from David Fisher, that throws up some entertaining tales of the dizzying heights of international superstardom...

"Alan Jansson (cowriter and producer of How Bizarre): "We were in a restaurant and Pauly said: 'The next album will be drum and bass'. His manager said: 'That's great Pauly, all bands have a drum and a bass'."
Too many people talking in Pauly's ear, and it all came down to lawyers.
"Jansson and Pauly, who penned the hit together, needed lawyers to sort out their problems. Mega-star Pauly came to do battle flanked by four lawyers from Russell McVeagh, says Jansson, whose only lawyer was called John Wayne. "I had The Duke," he cackles."
Points off to the Star Times website getting Fuemana's name wrong in the headline - "How bizarre - What's happened to Pauly Faemana?"

Amazon.com has some amusing customer comments on the OMC album...
"Take Ray Romano, ship him off to New Zealand and have him write music instead of comedy and you might have Pauly. The lyrics are witty, yet if you turned your back on them, they just might bite you on the behind. The instrumentation is tight, yet, just a bit off. As far as Pauly's vocals, um, I guess I'm just not used to New Zealanders rapping. But it's much more refreshing than anything Vanilla Ice ever did."

"I sincerly hope that "OMC" is active and creating back in his own country and we MTV lamos have just lost track of him due to our top-ten-sensitive-only-radar. This album showed glimmers of what could be a real talent two more albums down the road and perhaps they've already been released outside the U.S."

"It's a shame people probably only remember this as a novelty/one-hit wonder-it is so much more.The 90's were probably the worst music decade ever, but this saved it... If you like Paul Simon,Moby, or Poi Dog Pondering's first 2 albums-you will love this."

"I bought this album thinking OMC meant Old Man's Child and the guy picture on the cover of the album was just a twisted joke by the guys in the band. But no this is not Old Man's Child..."
Someone labels Fuemana as a Hispanic rapper, another suggests he's a punk Maori. If you want a copy there are 203 copies up for grabs in the new and used section, starting from $US0.01.

Following 'How Bizarre', Pauly starred in a movie in 1999, that was the feature film directing debut for Matthew Modine, who also wrote and took the lead role. The stinker is called If... Dog... Rabbit... (aka One Last Score) - Pauly played a character called Mister Scary. But check the cast list, and you'll see he wasn't the only Kiwi in the cast - Soane Filitonga (DJ Soane) plays Tod.

Seven years on, it's still pretty incredible to think that this groovy song from a lad from Otara topped the charts in 20 countries around the world. Whether Pauly comes back with something new or not, that's an achievement that no-one will ever take away from him. Right on.


DIY Marae - I wrote about it a few weeks back, and now the NZ Herald has discovered it. Good on them, aye? Tuesday night, 7PM til 8. Check it if you can.
"Tonight in Tauranga there's the barbed wire on the dunny wall. Rawinia has her theory: it's there to hang the loo paper on, or to keep the peeping toms out.
There's the wildly excited guy, watching his marae get a makeover, amazed that the young people are getting involved. Normally, he says, they won't even help "the aunties do the dishes or nothing man.
"They'd rather kick back and smoke in the car - you know that sort of thing."
This is community television. So last word to that guy: "I reckon it's wicked, bro. I love it, bro."
Can we call it cuzzie bro television? Sweet.


Originally published in Sunday Star Times, via stuff.co.nz - spelling typo in headline is from their website.


How bizarre - What's happened to Pauly Faemana? 11 April 2004 Sunday Star Times


It's the classic one hit wonder story - poor boy makes good but then disappears from sight. David Fisher charts the story behind singer Pauly Fuemana whose moment in the spotlight was a global phenomenon.

Pauly Fuemana sang "want to know the rest, hey, buy the rights" - then vanished.

He was King of the World, an Otara kid on a wild and crazy ride. How bizarre it all was.

Can't find Pauly to buy the rights now. He's still vanished, and likes it that way.

So I took the rights without asking. And this is the Pauly Fuemana story.

There was always plenty to tell, but Pauly didn't want it told. By the time his shooting star had returned to earth, he was sick of it - so many people wanting a piece of the universe he had made his own.

So he slipped away. A home in Auckland's Birkenhead for a few years, a quiet retreat to the north of the city . . . then nothing.

Pauly was huge, bigger than New Zealand ever realised. He's not now, and he knows that, though it took him a while to understand it.

The Fuemana sound was sweet pop from the hip-hop of South Auckland. The 1994 album Proud was one of the first whispers to escape - as brother Phil Fuemana puts it - the hood. "You don't know me, you haven't seen what I've seen/ So you could never really understand what I mean," sang Sisters Underground on Proud. That could have been Pauly's song, then and now.

He was on that album, on a track from OMC, the Otara Millionaires' Club, titled We R The OMC. For Phil, the music was already happening but Proud brought it to the nation, care of producer and songwriter Alan Jansson, whom he wryly describes as "some sort of great white hope".

When Jansson saw similar comments in print, he rang Phil and the pair butted heads. "I didn't tell you where to get off, I helped you to get on," Jansson said.

Pauly turned up, banging on Jansson's door. "Bro, no one has ever talked to my brother like that," he said, and stayed for a while. More than a year later the two would write the song that would make them rich.

But first there was the OMC. Pauly was living cheap, buying clothes from opportunity shops and at one stage living in a garage.

The first Big Day Out concert was opening, and the OMC was one of two acts to perform in New Zealand and tour Australia.

"Three nights before he left, Pauly and I sat down, and this is how prolific he was, we wrote eight songs," says Jansson. "We did that in the old kitchen of the studio."

One of those songs had the working title: "Big Top" and worked off the notes C-G-F. The lines "How Bizarre" and "buy the rights" would come later, as would the hit.

It was being refined all the time, says Jansson. "Pauly sang: 'Every time I look around, you're not there' and I said ONeeds some work bro'. It became . . . 'you're in my face'.

"Pauly can say it was all his, but I know who did what," says Jansson. He still owns half the song. "I said to Pauly, let's make our goals. Let's make number one in America. At that stage there were only about 840 songs that had been number ones. That was the goal. By getting in there, you are one of the best."

On that Australian trip, Rolling Stone reviewer Clinton Walker watched OMC and wrote: "Fuemana is an absolute natural, a man who sings and moves with the sharp easy grace of a young Marvin Gaye."

Jansson: "I went to see Simon Grigg (of the Huh! indy label). He said of all the bands you are working with at the moment I'm only interested in working with Pauly."

"Alan (Jansson) played me a demo and I said: 'That's pretty good'," says Grigg, with some understatement.

The song, by then, was what you hear now. "We'd tried different things," says Jansson. "Then Pauly came in one night and said 'you know how you are always saying how bizarre all the time? My missus says that too. Let's try that'."

Jansson and Grigg jumped a plane to Sydney to see Polygram where the record label's then number two, Adam Holt predicted: "This will be top five if not number one in Australia."

New Zealand had little idea of the magnitude of Fuemana's achievement as "How Bizarre", number one in Aotearoa and Australia in 1997, was picked up by UK radio DJ Chris Evans, at the height of his popularity.

Top of the Pops, the biggest music television show in Europe, wanted Pauly, a 27-year-old who'd been to Sydney but never this far from South Auckland.

He was treated like royalty in London, says Jansson. Chauffeur-driven cars at the airport, hotels, the finest restaurants, the first waves of fawning, bowing and scraping music industry types.

Grigg: "Pauly at that stage is going 'what the f–- is going on'. We got to meet the Spice Girls, Cher, and Paul Weller. It was amazing."

Then it crossed the Atlantic when a radio station in Buffalo started playing the song and alerted its New York affiliate - "the biggest radio station in the world", says Jansson.

Pauly had made it.

Grigg: "He was taken from Otara to living in an expensive hotel in New York and being feted by the rich and famous. He got a lot more insular, a lot more private, a lot more protective."

When you get that high, you find there's very few who can breathe the thin air up there. The myriad of executives and helpers moved in and, says Grigg, "were trying to turn him against Alan, and by association, me as well. People were saying 'you don't need these guys anymore"'.

There was new management, and new people running Pauly. Jansson believes "that's where Pauly and I fell apart. It drove a wedge between us".

And the money started coming. "It must be hard to never have had any money, then these massive cheques arrive through the mail," says Grigg.

"Pauly spent it like water," said one former friend.

Jansson: "The money was rolling in . . . You can stick the fame. But f–-, the fortune is amazing. Instead of just looking the part, he had the cash stocks and bonds to go with it."

Both Jansson and Grigg are critical of the handling, after the hit, of Pauly's career - including the remake of Randy Newman's "I love LA" for the Mr Bean movie.

Jansson: "We were in a restaurant and Pauly said: 'The next album will be drum and bass'. His manager said: 'That's great Pauly, all bands have a drum and a bass'."

It got bitter at times. Grigg remembers one manager asking: "Does Alan Jansson want more than one track on Pauly Fuemana's greatest hits?" "I said: 'Does Pauly Fuemana want more than one track on Alan Jansson's greatest hits?'"

Jansson and Pauly, who penned the hit together, needed lawyers to sort out their problems. Mega-star Pauly came to do battle flanked by four lawyers from Russell McVeagh, says Jansson, whose only lawyer was called John Wayne. "I had The Duke," he cackles.

"Since then, I haven't really talked to Pauly."

Pauly stayed in the US, working with a number of new producers. Nothing was released.

In mid-1998, he married long-time girlfriend Kirstene Gee, the mother of his three children. Pauly had left Otara behind and now lived in leafy Birkenhead, although he did get married in South Auckland - even if it was on exclusive Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour.

A year later he was back in the US playing Mr Scary in a Matthew Modine film If . . . Dog . . . Rabbit. It was a difficult time - torn between the US and home, trying to make it while being a husband and father.

Meanwhile, Pauly poured royalties from "How Bizarre" into his management and music company, OMC Ltd. Recording equipment was bought and he continued singing and writing, under pressure to produce another hit. Again nothing was ever released. Anything he produced, even those follow up singles on the How Bizarre album, would be measured against that song.

Phil Fuemana, who runs successful South Auckland hip-hop label Urban Pasifika, says Pauly wasn't looking for the music. "Music just sort of fell on him. It was a moment in time. He got rich and came home to New Zealand to his wife and family."

As the song got less air time and royalties dropped, Pauly's spending didn't, according to accountants' reports for OMC Ltd, which went into liquidation a few years later. Credit reports show debt collectors started looking for the well-hidden star.

"It wouldn't be very nice when it comes to an end and you see who your friends are," says Jansson.

Those who know say this doesn't mean Pauly is broke - the success of the song will provide a comfortable living for years, perhaps the rest of his life.

Few in New Zealand appreciate how great his fleeting success was. Phil has an award for Pauly hanging on the wall at home. It has 20 flags on it - one for each country "How Bizarre" went number one in.

"I was f–-ing proud, eh. We had a really big party when it went big in the UK. And it was because Alan and Simon believed in our brother.

"You can only wish to have a hit like it. When Pauly made it, for us, it was like we made it. We shared in his fame. We all got something. We made it out of the hood.

"He f–-ed the whole world. He f–-ed the whole lot of them. It was just a moment. It was a rush for a second. How many seconds do you need, once you start banking the cash?

"Does he have to come back? If he wanted to, he would have."

Phil points to the brilliance of current Kiwi hip-hop, and wishes the record industry would show the same faith in artists such as Che Fu and Scribe and release their work abroad.

The record companies and music money-men can leave his brother alone: "Make Scribe or Che the new 'How Bizarre' . . . don't try and dredge up the old one."

Pauly is a private man, says Phil. They see each other on family occasions, but other than that, he rarely goes out.

Sunday Star Time understands Pauly and Kirstene have moved to Albany, to a modest home with a swimming pool. This year, for the first time in years, Pauly's music has an audience again, although a small one. Mike Chunn, the former Split Enz bassist has demos he is touting around town.

Phil says if Pauly is making music again, it will be his own, not something manufactured for him to sing.

"We came from simple dreams. We didn't want to be huge huge . . . we just wanted to support our families.

"That's where you'll find him, somewhere in suburbia. You won't find him. He doesn't want to be found.

"If you're looking for Pauly, turn the radio on, request his song and there he is."

Pauly yells "we're outta here"

Kirstene says "right on"

We're making moves and starting grooves

Before they knew we're gone

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Street racers anonymous
There's this guy on the news last night, defending his son, who has killed himself by wrapping his car around a tree at high speed. His son had been stopped by the Police in a known area for boy racers at 3am sunday morning, but before the Police could talk to him he sped off, took a few corners, clipped a van and crashed, spreading wreckage over a 50 metre stretch of road. The man's son was a 35 year old father of two. The father claimed his son was not a boy racer.

Then on 60 Minutes, there was an doco item about four boys, killed in a high speed crash. One of the boys had been given the keys to the car by his parents, driven round to his mates for a barbeque, then headed off home about midnight, but had also taken three of his mates. Turns out he was going for a cruise to the gas station, but he failed to take a corner at high speed (140 km) and killed himself and his three friends. The driver, a 15 year old, did not have a license. Yet his parents still gave him the keys to the car. The Father was belligerent when the interviewer asked him why he hasn't apologised to the other families, but later gave a sort of apology.
Later, TV3 chose to screen Fast and the Furious, a film set in LA around the exciting world of street racers.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?