Friday, October 29, 2004

from Novelist Andrew O'Hagan, in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

"...Two years ago, I was in New Zealand with him. We were there to represent British culture, a fact which made us laugh for an entire week, and I have to say I've never fallen into camaraderie with someone so quickly in my life.

The first night, I went for an Indian with John and his wife Sheila, and I wasted no time in paying dues to my former self: I told him he was a god. He took it very well, saying something profound like, "You wouldn't pass me some of that mango chutney over, would you?" As we went from place to place, I realised John and Sheila were one of the very few couples whose relationship I envied: she loved his jokes, and he just thought there was nothing in the world to match her.

Waiting to meet some Maori dignitaries, John and I were discussing a band called the Wedding Present. I broke off and said something nice to him about Sheila. His eyes filled up and he lost his words. "Thank you, Andrew," he said eventually. "I think that, too."

Every few yards in New Zealand someone would present themselves to John and give him a tape or a CD. By day three, he had 92 of them, and he brought them to a house I'd rented on Waiheke Island. We had dinner on a veranda looking over the greenest water; the trees seemed to caress the house and we listened to the music.

"This might be the loveliest place I've ever been," John said. We walked on the beach - Sheila behind us and John walking backwards so he could see her. "It's like a painting," I said to him. "The Man who Loved to Look at His Wife." "It's true," he said. "I love looking at Sheila. I've always said it: she's just the nicest person I've ever met."

There was a dinner one night. John started talking to me about his childhood and the various things that had happened. I was mesmerised by him, the way he spoke so humanely and clearly about the past. He was my favourite person on the radio, but now he was talking privately, almost conspiring with me to get it right, make it precise, for each of us, the story of childhood and what it means. It was then I realised what it was that made John Peel the greatest broadcaster of his generation..."

The Herald picked up fellow BBC DJ Andy Kershaws comments via the Independent, some of which have created a stir...
"The last time I saw him he looked absolutely worn out. We went to a cafe near Radio 1 and I said: "John, you look terrible." He said: "They've moved me from 11pm to one at night and the combination of that and Home Truths (his BBC Radio 4 show) is killing me." He felt he had been marginalised."

"BBC authorities rejected the notion. "It is extremely distressing that Andy should say this. John was fully supportive of the changes -- he even said that the late finish meant clearer roads when he drove back to East Anglia", one BBC executive said."

I think that is called 'saying what the boss wants to hear'.

Peel getting shunted to a later slot is not disimilar to the story of Rodney Bingenheimer, a US DJ at KROQ in Los Angeles. I saw an interesting documentary about him at this year's Film Festival - it's called The Mayor of Sunset Strip. Bingenheimer is responsible for breaking many bands in the States the last 30 years, and he's still on the radio, but these days he's been shunted off to Sunday midnight to 3am. While the doco makes much of Bingenhiemer's celebrity friends, it also makes him look sad and lonely, as someone who has never capitalised on their position in any meaningful financial way. It's not a very flattering portrait, and the director is useless at asking questions. You know a doco is in trouble if you are sitting in the theatre thinking of questions you'd want to ask, really obvious stuff, and they just get bypassed.
When it screened here, they showed the trailer for the film just prior to screening it, which basically gave away all the good lines, before you got to see the film. Sigh.

Not many
Bizgirl went to the Silver Scroll Awards - she's written it up here..

"Noizy had scored us some media tickets, so we bowled along at 6am [think she means 6pm] to get stuck into the infamous open bar that accompanies the event. I had my Voon frock on again, but noizy had decided to wear his ridiculous Scooby Doo and Shaggy brown corduroy jacket, which has a picture of the said cartoon anti-heroes on one pocket, and the Scooby Doo logo in big gold letters on the other. Needless to say I 'lost' him in the crowd as soon as we got in the door.

And what a crowd it was. Unlike the awards, which are a bit more indie/alternative and bring out only a small smattering of stars, the Silver Scrolls gets a much more successful breed of music celebs out and about. Not that any of the readership from outside NZ will recognise any of these names, but within a short time I'd variously managed to spill my champagne on Dave Dobbyn, clocked Jordan Luck in the side with my elbow as I swung around to see if it was indeed Shayne Carter who'd strolled past me going the other way (it was), and knocked Scribe's baseball cap slightly askew as I pushed past him on the way to find another drink. He left it that way all night, much to my amusement..."

No mention of the Shayne Carter/Liam Finn rumoured fistfight, and no sign of the promised post from Noizyboy either. Where's the dirt, people?
UPDATE: Noizy has finally got something up on the Silver Scrolls here "... I caught up with Jody Lloyd (aka Trillion, and of Dark Tower fame), whose been a bit of a champion of the indie scene for a few years now, and who has some good ideas on how NZ On Air money could be better spent than funding knock-off American-sounding commercial rock bands. He'd obviously come to make the statement, as his shirt had the NZ on Air logo printed onto the pocket, but the with 'NZ' removed and 'Sound like USA' replacing it..."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wicked mathematics
About two months from now, watch out for the local media to start doing their end of year reviews - you'll see the same line repeated from last year - "2004 was the best year ever for NZ music". That's true, but it's more accurate to say that 2004 was the best year for commercial NZ music, but that doesn't make as good a headline.
Truth is, if you were out on the fringes, that's where you stayed. Just ask Auckland metal band Subtract - their debut album Formula One features a delightful song called NZOA. If you're in a CD shop, pick it up and read the lyrics, they are amusingly direct. It's a concise rendering of the difficulties faced by the band as they try (unsuccessfully) to fit into the mold for funding. They are very disparaging of NZ On Air providing grants to its mates at record companies. Which means they swear.

Where's Radar?
TV One has Mark Sainsbury running round the US during the leadup to the US elections - he was last spotted in Louisiana. TV3 has been following ITV's Nick Robertson driving round in a campervan meeting up with ordinary folk. But some bright sparks at the NZ Herald and National Radio have sent comedian/columnist Radar off to Pahrump, Nevada. He'll be doing some reports for NatRad and no doubt some interesting columns for the Herald. Pahrump is a town of 33,000 people, about 60 miles from Las Vegas, formerly known as the town with the brothels, is about 91% white, and supposedly a bit more liberal than surrounding areas. Should be interesting to see what he comes up with.
UPDATE: Radar's first column is here.
Opening line: "You boys here for the hookers?" is the most persistent phrase I have heard in the past week....

Also, look out for my cousin Rob Warner on Soundlab on C4 tonight (Wed 27th Oct, 10.30pm) - he's interviewed by Nick D in Thailand; Rob is up there DJing at the mo. He and Josh Webb did the What the Funk remix for me that's on the Fashion Week CD 'Off the cuff', alongside Minuit, Fat Freddy's Drop, Nathan Haines, Soane, One Million Dollars, Baitercell & Timmy Schumacher, Concord Dawn and more.

More Peel..
tip of the hat to Peter Hoar...

From: Tim Wall
Date: Wednesday - October 27, 2004 6:41 AM
Subject: Death of John Peel

"Many of you will have heard about the sudden death of the British Music radio presenter, John Peel. In an aspect of radio that is often seen as trivial and common denominator, or trite and formulaic Peel did something rather surprising: he played records that interested him. He didn't always like them, but they sounded a bit different and so thought you might like to hear them.

He was a mainstay of BBC Radio One's evening broadcasts for over thirty years, but not in the way you would guess if you haven't ever heard one of his shows.

British radio has been full of elegies this afternoon, but many of them sounded like the easy clich├ęs he tried to avoid. I hope this personal view doesn't sound the same. Otherwise I didn't learn enough from him.

I only had lengthy conversations with him on a couple of occasions. The first was 25 years ago when I was a student (and a student broadcaster) and he was the visiting National- Radio-One- DJ- come- to- play- some- punk- records- to- some- drunk- students. But he was willing to give up an hour to come and talk to me in the radio station. I had been expecting him to be critical about the late 1970s music scene and music radio in general. But he wasn't. On this, and the later occasion ten years later, I found him very non-judgemental, and I like to think he remained like that. He just liked what he liked, was interested in different sounds, and hoped we might like them as well. He just wanted a bit of space for music radio like this.

There's been a lot about him contributing to the art of radio, but that's tosh. He was anti-the-art -of-radio. He constantly made rather obvious mistakes, like paying a record at the wrong speed, or playing the wrong track, but he always treated the music with respect, and he joked about

There have been some interesting early sound clips of him being interviewed in the late 1960s (I doubt there is much of him presenting a show, because music radio just isn't archived enough) and he sounds so BBC middleclass. But by the 1970s he had taken on a rather lugubrious personality distinct from the laid-back Rock DJ style that dominated evening radio in Britain, and of course as the advocate of punk (and Reggae, and various forms of African pop, and blues, and hip hop, and almost anything) he established himself as an institution with his listeners, and later with his station.

I say later with his station because the corporation management which spent a decade trying to marginalise, and even make him disappear was replaced before he was. And I was always impressed that he never tried to become a presenter for an older age group of listeners. He didn't carve up music like that. He even sort of made it possible to still be interested in music after you were 25. That's helpful in my job.

In a way his idea of playing music he had just heard became the aspiration of Radio One as a whole. His version of public service broadcasting, sort of, became that of Radio One. Almost while no one was listening.

I learnt a lot about music radio from John Peel. A lot about presenting (although I always tried to play the record at the right speed). A lot about playing music, and what was important about music.

John I'll miss your shows. And I'll miss you. That's the funny thing about radio, isn't it. Only talked to him twice at any length. But I got to listen to him almost every week for thirty years.

No longer teen age kicks."

Legendary British DJ John Peel has passed away, aged 65. He was on a working holiday with his wife in Peru. RIP.
"After announcing Peel's death on Radio 1, the station played his favourite song, Teenage Kicks, by the Undertones.
Michael Bradley, bass player for the Undertones, spoke of his shock on learning of Peel's death.
He said: "He was a very funny, very warm man and we will always be grateful for what he did for The Undertones.
"Personally, I find it incredible what he did for the band and we always got huge pride out of the fact that he said Teenage Kicks was his favourite single.
"He always had his finger on the pulse of the music industry and the fact that Radio 1 played the Undertones, the White Stripes and the Strokes today showed just how relevant he remained throughout his career."

UPDATE: Hans has a good post on his own memories of listening to Mr Peel, read it here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I Heart K Rd
I headed uptown on Saturday afternoon to check out the shops and mooch about - discovered a great new shop called Xia (see pic above); stocks a range of Chinese goods like clocks with proud Revolutionaries raising their fists (the fists is the second hand, ticks back and forward), Chairman Mao porcelain figures, a dancing revolutionary girl raised up on one foot while pointing a handgun in the air, and some wicked Chinese and Japanese posters. Had a look at the window display in This Is Not A Love Shop as mentioned over here by Robyn - its outstanding, a kitsch 3D painting/sculpture of Axel Rose.
Also worth having a loookee, the excellent art exhibition at Distrupt Gallery (145 K Rd; near Verona Cafe) from the Richmond OG, Sparrow Phillips aka SP23. He's a graffiti artist who specialises in stencils, and here's a few pics. Get along and check it out; the show is on til 10 November, and if the artworks are out of your price range, he's also got the designs on t-shirts. Niceness!

King hit
TV3 showed footage of Destiny NZ's political launch at the weekend, screening the following quote...

'Civil rights legend Martin Luther King “did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage”, according to his daughter Bernice King, who flew all the way from the US at the weekend to endorse the rulership/dominion/possession political mandate of the Destiny Church.'

Unfortunately they failed to balance Bernice King's quote with the following information, which casts Dr King's beliefs in a slightly different light...

'Destiny quoted Dr King without authorisation during their “Enough is Enough” campaign in August, to the dismay of his widow, Coretta Scott King, who declined in a written statement to support the Destiny rally, and noted that one of her husband’s closest advisors (Bayard Rustin) was gay. “I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King's dream to make room at the table of brother and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people,” she said'.
The best thing about Destiny NZ is they are out in the open - we can see these haters coming a mile off. Thank fuck for democracy. Speaking of which...

Watch the pretty pictures.
Eminem's new video, Mosh.
O-Dub says.. "The video opens with the sound and sight of an airliner, flying off screen, accompanied with an explosion: the allusion is clear. From there, we see everything referenced from racial profiling by police to a parody of Bush sitting stunned in a Florida classroom, to renters getting evicted by greedy corpoglomerates, to Bin Laden being held up as Cheney's puppet. The ending images are of a mass of black hoodied youth walking through the streets - not to burn the motherfucker down but to register to vote. TO REGISTER TO VOTE. Put aside the fact that Eminem himself has never voted: seriously, this video is a kick to the head, a parade of images and messages that leaves even a tired, old progressive like me feeling simultaneously charged and astonished.

I have to admit: watching Eminem's "Mosh" is pretty damn stunning, especially from an artist who I've called "misanthropic" not that long ago. Em is now extending on Michael Moore's criticisms of the Bush Administration, creating a video where the main thrust is to call for insurrection through democracy. Be a cynic all you want, say it's just some clever P.R. ploy on Em's part to stir up interest in his upcoming Encore album but offer me a more visible call to action that you're going to see on MTV, BET, VH1, etc.?"

Em's last vid made fun of Michael Jackson and used a Peewee Herman laugh as the chorus hook, continuing his rep as pisstaker-extraordinaire, and then he comes back with this kick in the face. Easily the most effective political statement to come outta the US entertainment arena during their election year. Beats Bruce Springsteen and his tired old cronies rocking the vote.

Nas and his dad appeared on VH1's Hip Hop Honours special, doing a tune called 'Bridging the Gap' - starts off all swamp blues with Nas' dad singing, then Nas enters and the beat gets skippy - it's wicked. Check it here. You can also cop the Beasties doing RunDMC's 'Sucker MC's', and Fat Joe doing KRS One's 'South Bronx' at VH1's site.

from Funkdigital... "How embarassing and what a black eye to the music industry. And you wonder why we don't pay for music. Ashlee Simpson's stuffup on Saturday Night Live." Seems lipsyncing is really difficult. She is blaming her performance (or lack thereof) on a gastric disorder. She's also quoted as asking her fans on her website how she can delete the videos floating round the net of the unfortunate event. Ah, the joys of live tv.
Subject: How do I get rid of all those videos.
10/24/2004 8:35:08 PM - by Ashlee Simpson
Ok you people know the internet, I'm going to get rid of all these videos posted on other websites, how do i delete them?
Search me
Here's some of the delightful search terms that have landed you folks here in the last five days...

Feelstyle; Jayzeezer; Bro town; mass sucides; woggles posters; Belinda Henley; amatanga; reasons not to eat mcdonalds; TV3/bro town; dimmer star times betchadupa; Alison Annan; Leona Johansson public sex; Brian Wells collar bomb video; breasts; Riot III; feelstyle reviews.

That's the joys of site stats for you. Here's Bizgirl's fun with stats. She suspects someone from her work is lurking on her blog, and hopes it aint her employer. I've wondered if any of my workmates read this, and if sol, why aren't you working? Slackers.

UPDATE: here's a few more search terms...
pauly fuemana married; benjamin crellin; dj peter gunz; Graffiti prevention officer Rob Shields...