Saturday, December 31, 2011

NYE 1977

New years eve, December 31 1977: Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the band Chic are invited by Grace Jones to join her at Studio 54. When they get there, they are refused entry. They were annoyed, but they went back to Rodgers'apartment and channelled their anger into energy, and came up with a hit... happy new years, folks!

"... Having settled on the name Chic, and after months of peddling their demo of "Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" unsuccessfully around the New York record companies, the band signed to Atlantic Records. The single was released in October 1977 and raced into the US Top 5.

Still, Chic's initial success did not immediately elevate them to the top of every list. It was snowing in New York when Rodgers and Edwards stepped up to Studio 54's fabled doorway on 31 December 1977. The pair had been asked to join Grace Jones, who was partying inside the legendary club. Already they were sporting clothes commensurate with the fact that their debut single had sold a million copies within a month: Rodgers was wearing a Cerutti dinner jacket, Edwards was in Armani.

They went to the club's back door and attempted to get in. Their names weren't down. While the club rocked to "Dance Dance Dance", they were outside being denied admission.

Back at Rodgers' apartment, they started to jam. As Rodgers recounted to Anthony Haden-Guest in his book The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night, "We were just yelling obscenities ... fuck Studio 54 ... fuck those scumbags." Suddenly, the music began to coalesce. The guitar and bass part locked in and a repeated refrain of "Aaaaaaaah, fuck off!" became the jam's focal point. Eventually, the "fuck" became "freak". "Off "became "out".

The resulting song, "Le Freak", is what Chic did in the Vietnam war; it is why 25 years later, books are being written about them. It is the epitome of the Chic sound, effortlessly crafted. The ultimate irony of turning the hatred that Rodgers and Edwards had felt toward Studio 54's door policy out on to the dancefloor and making it positive was fantastic.

Entering the US charts on 18 November 1978, the record went platinum and became the biggest-selling record in Atlantic's history. It hit No 1 in America, where it remained for six weeks. It went gold in Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Great Britain, France, Brazil, and most of the rest of the world. In Canada, it became the best-selling song in the nation's history. At Christmas 1978, Chic had the No 1 single in America. No self-respecting party of the 1978 festive season was complete without it..."

Cian's top 5 record stores

Cian (R) with Gilles Peterson, at Conch.

Found this in an old Volume magazine (old as in 4 months ago). Cian O'Donnell of Conch Records lets slip his favourite record spots. I've added links to it.

1. Rooky Ricardo's Records, Lower Haight st, San Francisco.
2. Disco 7 (Disco Sete) - Sao Paulo
3. Disk Union - Shibuya, Tokyo
4. Basement of Rasputins, Berkeley, California

ADDED Just found an article on Cian in NZ Musician magazine from 2003, here's his all time Top 5 tunes from that story.... FYI, he hails from Hereford, England. There ya go.

Que pena  - Gal Costa
The season - Beanfield
Song for Mozambique - Archie Shepp
Renaissance - Jean Luc Ponty
Lately  - Massive attack

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Dec 31

Radio city - The hop
Prof Oz - Waves and sun - Grant Phabao remix
Luciano - Life - Creation samba remix by Da Lata
Harlem river drive - Idle hands
Orchestra Harlow - Freak off
El Chicano - Spanish grease
Joe Quijano - Fun city shingaling
Willie Bobo - Psychedelic blues
Patato and Totico - Mas que nada
Joe Bataan - Subway Joe
Eddie Palmieri and Cal Tjader - Picadillo
Diane and Carole and the Latin Watchamacallits - The fuzz
Jugoe - Ohio city
Kormac - Join together
Lord Echo - Things I like to do
Mr Scruff  - Get a move on
Wilson Pickett - Get me back on time - Danny Massure edit
Roberto Roena - Canta una simple (sing a simple song)
Fat freddys drop - Bohannon dub
African head charge - Release the doctor
Lee Scratch Perry - Jungle youth - Congo natty remix
Hortense Ellis -  People make the world go round
Dub asylum - Jumping Jack skank

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dick Smith and the CGA

So, my Freeview receiver died over Xmas. First the picture disappeared, then the sound went too. It's a  Dick Smith-branded Freeview box, model G7503. It's about two years old.

I went to Dick Smiths Wyndham St on Thurs 29 Dec 2011, and talked with a staff member and explained issue with device, I had tested the leads, and cable, all of which worked fine on other devices.

He asked if I had bought extended warranty. I said no, He said then they weren't able to do anything to help. I asked about their obligations under Consumer Guarantees Act, and was it reasonable to expect this device to only last two years, as I didn't think so, and he referred me to their head office, saying they would be available as it was a usual work day. I called the number he suggested, no answer. I called the 0800 number on Dick Smith website, no answer for their repairs/technical dept either.

I did some research online, tried asking for advice on Twitter and Facebook. I also posted on Dick Smith's Facebook page about this. There has been no response via Twitter or Facebook from Dicks Smith, although their staff are posting to their FB page over the xmas holidays  - on Dec 26 and Dec 28.

Hadyn Green of Consumer NZ told me via Twitter that he thought it was a simple CGA claim. I also looked up the CGA on Consumer NZ's site, which has some very helpful information. Basically, the device should be fit for the intended purpose, for the expected life of the device and is covered under the CGA warranty. I did not expect this Freeview box to only last two years.

I posted a question about the boxes on Geekzone, and discovered this was a common problem with this model of Freeview box, at the two year mark. A number of folk with this problem had returned them to Dick Smith and had them replaced under the CGA.

Today (Dec 30) I went back to Dick Smith, this time to their Queen St store. The first staff member I talked to listened and looked at me blankly, pointed at another staff member and wandered off to get them.

I eventually got to talk to Ben, who did know what the CGA was, and listened to my issue and agreed to send it off for assessment. He took my details and logged the issue and said it would take 14 working days, or probably longer due to the xmas holidays. So I will probably hear back from Dick Smith in late January. Wish me luck.

I will also try and find out if Dick Smith train their shop staff on the CGA. Because, based on the staff I've dealt with, they clearly do not. I've also heard a variety on anecdotal experiences that suggest many retailers try and dodge their CGA obligations.

ADDED... I got this message via Facebook from a former co-worker, who is a tech journalist and ex editor of NZ PC World... "Had a similar experience at Harvey Norman. Was buying something and the sales guy asked us to buy an extended warranty. We said no, it was covered by the CGA. He said yeah, but we'd have to take them to court to get them to honour it."

ADDED heard this about Dick Smith via someone on Twitter... "I had a big dude called Ali at Newmarket [Dick Smith] go all MMA [mixed martial arts] and try to smash me when trying to return a MP3 player lol...Took Customer Service to a new and scary level!!! He was a pretty big dude as well. My advice.. duck and weave!!"

Glad the guy I spoke to at DS Queen St this morning didn' t take that approach. And that he knew what the CGA was.

UPDATED 5 Jan 2012: When I went to Dick Smith Queen St on Dec 30, they told me they would send it off for assessment and that would take up to 14 working days, plus more for the xmas break. So I wasn't expecting a response til late January.

However, I got a phone call from Ben at DS Queen St today, and they had decided to replace it, after assessing it. They gave me a new Freeview box (at no cost to me), a Sommet SHDNZ3. So, hopefully it goes.

Dick Smith replied to my Facebook message yesterday, asking if the issue had been resolved. I said no, and detailed what had happened with Ben at their DS Queen St. I also asked if they provide training to their staff on the CGA

They replied today, saying "We certainly do give training in regards to our obligations under the CGA. Unfortunately in this case it seems our staff member did not follow the correct procedure. It is great to see Ben at our Queen St store followed the correct procedure. As you would know we are entitled to access the product before making the decision to replace/refund etc. Ben would have contacted you by now to let you know that we have accessed the product and will be replacing it for you."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Duke

Via Network Awesome, great clip of Duke Ellington interviewed for Swedish TV by Sven Lindahl...

The man behind Raggamuffin

The Sydney Morning Herald published a story on Raggamuffin promoter Andrew McManus on Dec 23. It's worth a read. It details the many variations on companies called Andrew McManus Presents...

excerpt: "... In business, they say, you're only as good as your name. And if that's true, Andrew McManus must be very good indeed, because his name is attached to so many of his companies that it can be almost impossible to tell where one ends and the next begins..."

"...Though drawing crowds of 30,000-plus in New Zealand, it [Raggamuffin] struggled in Australia, where it was plagued by poor ticket sales, the cancellation of headline act Sean Paul and terrible weather. The Adelaide show on February 2, 2011, pulled just 400 people..."

"...Even in New Zealand, where Raggamuffin was a raging success, McManus struggled. In 2010, his Kiwi operation Andrew McManus Presents (New Zealand) Co Limited became embroiled in a legal dispute with the reggae band Pacific Herbs. On the brink of a court date, the company went into liquidation. As of December 6, it owed $NZ394,000 ($A300,000) to creditors".

"His New Zealand operation, which promoted the New Zealand leg of his Raggamuffin reggae festival, went into liquidation in March this year, with debts last estimated at more than A$300,000. Tickets for the 2012 Raggamuffin event in Rotorua are now on sale. The promoter is McManus Entertainment".

McManus is currently workng on a New Years Eve show for Sydney... "His partner [is] Sydney Resolutions Pty Ltd, the outfit behind the Sydney Resolution concert, is the live events arm of Universal, the world's biggest music company."

Previous posts: Raggamuffin cancels Aust shows, Raggamuffin rumblings, Herbs vs Raggamuffin