Jellyfish, but in the Dubai Mall aquarium. Beautiful even so.
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Absolute Elsewhere

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VAN MORRISON CONSIDERED (2013): The long and winding road

VAN MORRISON CONSIDERED (2013): The long and winding road

The respected American cultural critic Greil Marcus has given us some insightful books, among them Mystery Train; Images of America in Rock'n'Roll Music and Like A Rolling Stone which uses that Bob Dylan song for an analysis of the musician in his time and at a crossroads, and of the song itself. But Marcus – perhaps most widely known for his opening line of his Rolling Stone... more >>

Into the Mystic (take 11)

PEARL JAM CONSIDERED (2013): Coming on like a lightning bolt

PEARL JAM CONSIDERED (2013): Coming on like a lightning bolt

If you don't rate Pearl Jam and have a particular dislike of Eddie Vedder for whatever reason, stop reading now. Because some years ago in Seattle I met them in their rundown rehearsal room and had a long chat with Eddie. They were very friendly and self-effacing people, and Eddie even insisted we get a Polaroid taken of he and I together. I kept it on my desk but the thing faded over... more >>

Sirens

HANK MARVIN INTERVIEWED (2013): Living in and out of the Shadows

HANK MARVIN INTERVIEWED (2013): Living in and out of the Shadows

The first British guitar hero – Hank Marvin of the Shadows – is in the studio again in his adopted home of Perth, West Australia. When we call for a chat in advance of a New Zealand tour (dates below) he's contributing to an album by his old Shadows bandmate Brian Bennett, a tribute to the composer John Barry. Others also involved are Peter Frampton and Mark Knopfler he says,... more >>

Swingtime in Springtime

PETER GABRIEL CONSIDERED (2013): Having others blow his horn

PETER GABRIEL CONSIDERED (2013): Having others blow his horn

Things always seemed unusual – and unusually fraught sometimes – in Peter Gabriel's world. In Genesis he attempted to expand the parameters of popular music through increasingly ambitious albums, notably The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in '74, a double which not only came with a metaphorical storyline but a lyric sheet and a separate parallel narrative inside the gatefold... more >>

Solsbury Hill

GRAEME GASH OF WAVES INTERVIEWED (2103): On the crest of new Waves

GRAEME GASH OF WAVES INTERVIEWED (2103): On the crest of new Waves

Back in February 2012, I pulled the sole album by New Zealand's Waves from off my shelf and posted the track Arrow as a From the Vaults entry. At the time I said this innovative self-titled album from 1975 by a close harmony, acoustic quartet (with some plugged-in guests) was long overdue for a reissue and noted because their quietly considered sound stood at odds with the prevailing... more >>

Schooners

OVER THE RHINE INTERVIEWED (2013): At home in a place called Nowhere

OVER THE RHINE INTERVIEWED (2013): At home in a place called Nowhere

The phonecall catches Linford Detweiler of the American band Over the Rhine in the lobby of a hotel in Iowa City, kids are screaming in the background and when he ambles outside to try and find the tour bus the air is pierced by sirens. “Wow,” he laughs, “maybe Iowa City is pretty interesting after all.” With his other half in Over the Rhine, Karin... more >>

Highland County

WILLIS EARL BEAL INTERVIEWED (2013): The reluctant Nobody who knows

WILLIS EARL BEAL INTERVIEWED (2013): The reluctant Nobody who knows

In that broad spectrum of characters, craziness and genius in popular culture – from Mormon rockers to gun-carrying hip-hoppers – Willis Earl Beal is unique. And it's not for his backstory which involves medical discharge from the military, itinerancy and a period of homelessness, recording dozens of songs cheaply and giving them away before being discovered by Found... more >>

ROKY ERICKSON AGAIN (2013): After getting off the elevator

ROKY ERICKSON AGAIN (2013): After getting off the elevator

The pleasure of seeing Roky Erickson when he came to New Zealand is 2012 was that he was Roky Erickson, and he was in New Zealand. Just a few years before, given Erickson's damaged mental state, few would have counted on that happening. As a friend said a week out from the show, "I'll buy a ticket when I know he's on the plane". Having just interviewed Erickson I said,... more >>

I Have Always Been Here Before

ELVIS COSTELLO INTERVIEWED (2013): And he's differently the same

ELVIS COSTELLO INTERVIEWED (2013): And he's differently the same

Although Elvis Costello will tell me “I haven't accrued a massive fortune but am well off and have a degree of freedom of movement”, you suspect he quite likes upsetting whatever preconceptions people bring to his albums. So when it was revealed his new one Wise Up Ghost would find him working with the American instrumental hip-hop group the Roots, he guessed what people... more >>

Stick Out Your Tongue

TAMA WAIPARA INTERVIEWED (2013): Hope you like my new direction

TAMA WAIPARA INTERVIEWED (2013): Hope you like my new direction

About 10 minutes into a wide-ranging conversation with Tama Waipara – genial, self-effacing without false humility, and a ferociously gifted musician – we finally get around to talking specifically about his new album Fill Up the Silence. I compliment him on making “an album” (reviewed here) and define my terms: a series of distinctive and separate songs that... more >>

Pasifika

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . VERNON DALHART (2013): Are you ready for the country?

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . VERNON DALHART (2013): Are you ready for the country?

While it's not uncommon to hear people speak of some kind of "parallel universe" where another and different version of ourselves might exist, few would actually believe it exists. But every now and again someone comes along who . . . The child, born in northeast Texas on a cattle ranch in 1883, had the perfect name for a country singer who had been brought up tough in a... more >>

The Wreck of the Old 97

BOB DYLAN, THE ART OF SELF PORTRAITS (2013): More back pages

BOB DYLAN, THE ART OF SELF PORTRAITS (2013): More back pages

For most people, Bob Dylan arrived as fast as lightning and with the power of a hurricane. Fifty years ago last week – fewer than 18 months after his largely ignored debut album – Bob Dylan was at Martin Luther King's famous March on Washington. King delivered his famous “I have a dream speech” and Dylan sang When the Ship Comes In (with Joan Baez) and a solo... more >>

Went to See the Gypsy

GARETH LIDDIARD OF THE DRONES INTERVIEWED (2013): Existential and everyday horrors

GARETH LIDDIARD OF THE DRONES INTERVIEWED (2013): Existential and everyday horrors

Australia's outsider rock band The Drones – essentially a vehicle for singer-songwriter Gareth Liddiard aka Gaza – have survived against the odds. They've been through changes of physical location (founded in Perth, ended up in Melbourne), litigation which saw their album Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By in 2010 held up for a year, a... more >>

Nine Eyes

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN CONSIDERED (2013): A journey of light and shade

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN CONSIDERED (2013): A journey of light and shade

In a world awash with attention-demanding acts like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Queens of the Stone Age and so on, it's inevitable that many artists – the more discreet ones usually – go right past most people, even if they've had long and creditable careers. One such band is Glasgow's delightful Belle and Sebastian whose thoughtful albums – eight studio releases, a live... more >>

Your Secrets

LEE HAZLEWOOD REVISITED (2013): Whisky and honey

LEE HAZLEWOOD REVISITED (2013): Whisky and honey

When the producer/songwriter and distinctive singer Lee Hazlewood relocated to Sweden at the end of the Sixties -- he said so his son wouldn't get drafted and end up in Vietnam -- it marked the close of a remarkable decade, and perhaps the last most people heard of that oak-barrel baritone which he used on duets with Nancy Sinatra, for whom he wrote her massive seller These Boots Are Made for... more >>

The Girl on Death Row

ELVIS PRESLEY (2013): The King is gone but he's not forgotten

ELVIS PRESLEY (2013): The King is gone but he's not forgotten

When John Lennon was told in August 1977 that Elvis Presley had died, he apparently said, “Elvis died when he went into the army”. That comment is glib, dismissive and inaccurate. But we know what he means. Elvis the rebel rock figure who shook up popular music in the mid Fifties with That's All Right Mama, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Hound Dog, Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede... more >>

It's Different Now (rehearsal)

ROTOR+ CONSIDERED (2013): A beautiful journey into the black

ROTOR+ CONSIDERED (2013): A beautiful journey into the black

For many decades Avis, the international rental car outfit, had slogans which were variations on its position as number two in the market. Among them was “When you're only No 2, you try harder”. To advertise its ethic the company promoted itself with “We try harder” buttons . . . and it worked. People like it when others make an effort on their behalf. ... more >>

End: A Boundary and An Edge

JAMES BROWN REVISITED (2013): The Godfather, Parts I, II and III

JAMES BROWN REVISITED (2013): The Godfather, Parts I, II and III

If you never saw him at his peak, it's hard to imagine how exciting the late James Brown must have been in concert. I saw him twice when he was past his best, although that first time . . . It was New York in the early 90s and he was at the NBC Radio City Theatre and – having spent the previous day ambling around the famous Apollo Theatre – I couldn't believe my luck at... more >>

I'll Go Crazy

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . STRAWBERRY WALRUS (2013): Let me take you down . . . and down

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . STRAWBERRY WALRUS (2013): Let me take you down . . . and down

The jury will be out on "the worst album ever" until the judge directs it on exactly how we define the word "worst". For many "worst" would immediately be something by an anodyne boy band, some middle-of-the-road crooner or a cult hero like non-singer/non-player Jandek. But here goes nothing with a guy called Gary Murtha from Mississippi who writes under... more >>

When John Met Yoko

THE LATE GREAT TOWNES VAN ZANDT, AGAIN (2013): The troubled and troubling troubadour

THE LATE GREAT TOWNES VAN ZANDT, AGAIN (2013): The troubled and troubling troubadour

When I interviewed Townes Van Zandt in 1988, I had to ask him about his '73 album, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, the title of which was written in a stark Gothic typeface above a black'n'white photo of him at some emotional and physical distance. He looked a remote figure hunched awkwardly in a corner. It seemed a typically mordant move on his behalf, a man whose lyrics were steeped... more >>

Snow Don't Fall