Something Elsewhere

Short stories, satires, thinking-out-loud stuff and nonsense for your enjoyment, amusement . . . or otherwise. Just utterly Elsewhere.

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THE ROLLING STONES REVIEWED, NOV 22, 2014: It's all over now

23 Nov 2014

So this is the end. The final concert on the Rolling Stones 14 on Fire tour. And there are no other tours scheduled. They won't go on the road again, and we can dismiss Keith Richards' comments like “you can never tell with this band”. Could they be bothered going through this all over again in five or more years? So this is the end. But what... > Read more

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

21 Nov 2014

Here's something I sometimes tell the young students in my New Zealand Music Studies course at the University of Auckland: The first music awards show I went to in about 1988 was held in a small room in what is now the Langham Hotel. That room must have held maybe 60 people and my recollection was – aside from Herbs who made up quite a crew – there were... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES, a photo book from TASCHEN (2014): Rolling out the Stones again

17 Nov 2014    2

Wrapped in a cover from the evocative shoot on Primrose Hill in 1966 by Gerard Mankowitz -- which gave the band their Between the Buttons album cover -- this high-end, 600 page photo-history of the Rolling Stones gives you some idea of how the mighty have risen. It comes with a foreword by former US president Bill Clinton. Not bad for a band which was once denounced in the British... > Read more

Get Off Of My Cloud

YES; THE RISE, DEMISE AND RISE OF PROG (2014): Close to a precipice

11 Nov 2014

Among the many myths of British punk is that it wiped out prog-rock bands almost overnight. No more songs about goblins and wizards, no more 20 minute songs which were little more than arpeggios strung together, no more gatefold sleeves containing concept albums, a choir, full orchestra and the libretto. All that swept away by phlegm and bile, bondage-wrapped rage... > Read more

BADFINGER and HARRY NILSSON: Without them, no Without You

3 Nov 2014    5

Behind most hit songs -- perhaps even behind many songs -- there can be an interesting story. As songwriters tell us in the Famous Elsewhere Songwriting Questionnaire, very few songs dropped fully formed into an artist's lap. The story behind Harry Nilsson winning a Grammy in 1973 for Without You is interesting, but also comes with a patina of sadness. Badfinger were a British pop band... > Read more

PLEASE PLEASE ME; THE POTENCY OF MUSIC (an essay, 2014)

16 Oct 2014

About eight months ago I was invited to write a chapter in a very academic book entitled Soundscapes of Well Being in Popular Music. It was being edited by – among others – Professor Robin Kearns of the Geography Department in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. Although I am a contracted lecturer in the School of Music at the same university (and yes,... > Read more

BACK TO BLACK (2014): 12 inch vinyl, a Sign o' The Times

29 Aug 2014    1

At last! Although seriously serious old Beatles' fans didn't have long to wait. Just fortysomething years after the band broke up . . . but a mere five years since their albums and singles were given long overdue remastered reissue, here it is. Mono Beatles at last on vinyl record again . . . a real back to the . . . Well, in truth, not "back to the... > Read more

Only a Northern Song (mono)

THE CORNERSTONE COLLECTION (2011): The 101 building blocks of any serious CD collection

9 Jul 2014    4

In early 2011 I was invited by JB HiFi to collate -- for a giveaway booklet through their New Zealand stores -- the 101 albums I thought which should be in any serious music collection. That was the start and end of their input, they left me alone to deliver what I considered cornerstone albums ofr a broad-based collection. They also posted the selection on-line for comment and asked... > Read more

COLIN LINWOOD INTERVIEWED (2014): Keeping the records straight

30 Jun 2014    1

The most extraordinary thing about the extraordinary Colin Linwood is just how ordinary he is. In his early 50s, he's married with children, has worked from the time he left school, is trim and in good condition, and when he walks into the lobby bar of the Heritage Hotel in Auckland for a chat, few in the room give him a second glance. He's an ordinary man . . . and at home he has . . .... > Read more

THE RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL (2104): A tale of two events

29 Jun 2014    1

Every music festival likes to think of itself as unique, and by definition it is. The location and cultural context – which create the ambience – as well as the different roster of acts ensure that every festival is a one-off experience, even those which take place year after year. But it can be interesting and even useful to compare festivals which have nominally a... > Read more

Txori Erresinula

THE WORLD COMES TO SARAWAK (2104): The Rainforest World Music Festival

27 Jun 2014

It's a happily weird thing, especially at this time of year, to listen to taonga puoro master Horomona Horo evoke the sounds of New Zealand bush and its native birds . . . then walk outside into the 36 degree heat and hot breeze. Even with the ocean on its doorstep and the towering jungle of Mt Santubong at its back, the Damai region of Sarawak – about 40 minutes from the city... > Read more

Bagun Wei

RADIO RADIO: Odd podcasts from Radio New Zealand's Concert Programme

25 Jun 2014

For many years now I have been contributing a 20 minute chat with music to Radio New Zealand's Upbeat segment on the Concert Programme. My brief has been broad, so broad that I might be best described as "contributor without portfolio" because I have covered world music (not just worthy ethnographic stuff, quite a lot of pop), Indian Bollywood psychedelic music, songs from the... > Read more

THE MYSTERY AND MUSIC OF OF MARGARET (2014): A photo, a cassette and a strange tale

26 May 2014    11

Cassette tapes don't turn up in my letterbox that often these days. In fact not for at least a decade, maybe even much longer. They tell me there's a cult audience out there who like the idea of cassettes, but there's a cult audience for most things and tapes are damnably problematic because you can never find a track again, and they break. Remember the Seventies when the side of... > Read more

sample of music by Margaret (extract only)

HISTORY ACTUALLY REPEATS (2014): Rare, lost or out-of-print New Zealand music gets a second coming

21 May 2014

This week I was invited to a function in Auckland hosted by recordedmusic.co.nz. The event -- at which Shona Laing and John Hanlon performed -- was entitled Tied to the Tracks, named after a rarely-heard Laing album which she had recorded in London at the dawn of her career. But in good news, this album is no longer rare or unavailable. Because the event -- in Tyler Street Garage, a bar and... > Read more

The White Rabbit

CANON MEDIA AWARDS (2014): A judge's comments

10 May 2014    1

Some months ago I was invited to judge the Reviewer of the Year category for the Canon Media Awards. The awards ceremony was last night and I have been asked to post here the comments I wrote for the judging panel. I make some points about the reviewing process which may be of interest to general readers. It is common for judges of any award to note how difficult the decision was. Just... > Read more

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF . . . (2014): Kiss pokes tongue at honour? No!

11 Apr 2014

Trust Gene Simmons of Kiss to inject some controversy into the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today (April 10, US time). While so many others are happy to take the accolade, do the handshakes and attend the slap-up dinner, Simmons was blunt and got the headline. He recently told a US radio jock that hip-hop doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame, and nor do disco... > Read more

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU EXPLAINED, OR NOT (2014): It's the money-go-round

31 Mar 2014

Like French pop, the mainstream pop music of Japan is largely a mystery to outsiders. If so much French pop is breathy or more like an innocous soundtrack to high-end visuals, Japanese pop can seem like cliches come to life. And J-pop works in an enclosed world. Japan and Korea were the only countries last year to have their end-of-year top 10 album sales made up entirely of local artists.... > Read more

PonPonPon

GREAT LOST KIWI SINGLES: Rock follies

29 Mar 2014    9

They are found at the back of cartons at record fairs, under beds in long abandoned houses and sometimes stored lovingly -- but rarely played -- in the collections of the obsessives. They are those great, and not that great, singles by Kiwi artists which existed either in limited pressings or were simply so awful the artists themselves tried to buy and destroy every copy. They are Kiwi... > Read more

Peter Cape: Coffee Bar Blues

FILM IT AND THEY WILL COME (2014): Movie and television tourism

23 Mar 2014    1

Hamad suddenly pulls us aside in the canyon between towering rock faces and says, “See” as he points to a gap in the path ahead. “This is 'Wow', right? Indiana Jones, yes?” Well yes, it is wow and Indiana Jones because through the corridor of sheer stone we can see that breathtaking building carved from solid rock which appeared near the end of Indiana... > Read more

10 ALBUM COVER PARODIES: It looks familiar but . . .

17 Mar 2014

There are any number of books dedicated to the art of the album cover, and at Elsewhere we've indulged ourselves in articles about 10 Shameless Record Covers I'm Proud to Own (four columns, see here) as well as an article on 10 Good Albums in Bad Covers. You could fill a handsome coffeetable book with parodies of Beatles covers alone (hmmm, that's an idea), especially Please Please Me, With... > Read more