writing in elsewhere

The contents of this page relate to writing in elsewhere.

Selina Tusitala Marsh: Fast Talking PI (2009)

Selina Tusitala Marsh: Fast Talking PI (2009)

Every time I have played this track on radio it has had an immediate and favourable response: people want to know who the writer/reader is, and what else has she done. Marsh has done a lot: she was the first person of Pacific descent to graduate with a PhD in English at the University of Auckland and is currently a lecturer/tutor in that...

JOHN LENNON, THE LIFE by PHILIP NORMAN (2008): Just gimme some truth

JOHN LENNON, THE LIFE by PHILIP NORMAN (2008): Just gimme some truth

John Lennon -- who would have been 68, had he lived, at the time of this pubication -- did not have an unexamined life. In countless hours of drugs, meditation and therapy he analysed himself. Through many thousands of interviews -- some brutally honest, others self-mythologising -- he gave others material to scrutinise his life in intimate...

NATALIE MERCHANT INTERVIEWED 2010: The child inside

NATALIE MERCHANT INTERVIEWED 2010: The child inside

At age 10, Nathalia Crane was an acclaimed poet and the subject of great controversy, not least for the sexual innuendo of The Janitor’s Boy in which she wrote of lustful feelings and how she would “dutifully shiver in bed”. “Her poems came to attention when she was published in American newspapers,“ says...

Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch)

Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch)

This fascinating, self-funded double CD (available in a single disc "Selections" version) has preoccupied the former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman for the past five years -- but if literate and literary music is your thing you'll conclude it was worth her efforts. After the birth of her daughter, Merchant -- as musical parents are wont...

KINKY FRIEDMAN INTERVIEWED (1994): The art of irritation

KINKY FRIEDMAN INTERVIEWED (1994): The art of irritation

You have to admire Kinky Friedman. With very little effort he manages to irritate just about everybody. He did in the early 70s when he fronted his country music band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, who parlayed broadly satirical political and country songs and willfully provocative anti-feminist rants such as Get Your Biscuits in the...

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

One of the more mindlessly amusing one-liners about the Sixties says that if you remember them t.hen you weren’t there. Duh. That sitcom aphorism reduces the decade to flakiness and drugs, and bears no serious scrutiny at all. By rule-of-thumb and common consensus, what are loosely called the Sixties are the five years between She...

THE AUSTRALIANS: ORIGINS TO EUREKA by THOMAS KENEALLY

THE AUSTRALIANS: ORIGINS TO EUREKA by THOMAS KENEALLY

Among the many peculiarities in this wrinkled history of the Australian people -- from pre-European times through the First Fleet and up to the Eureka Stockade -- is that one of the first strikes in the fledgling colony was by Indian "coolies" who had been imported in the 1830s to be what was in fact, slave labour. These truculent...

THOMAS KENEALLY INTERVIEWED (2010): The people's historian

THOMAS KENEALLY INTERVIEWED (2010): The people's historian

To put it bluntly, Sarah Whitelam didn't muck around. The day after John Nicol sailed off for Britain – the man with whom she'd had child and promised to remain true to in the days before his departure – she recovered from her disappointment and married the convict John Walsh. These were very different times – the...

STALINGRAD, a documentary series by S. DENHARDT, C. DEICK and J. MULLNER (DV1/Southbound DVD)

STALINGRAD, a documentary series by S. DENHARDT, C. DEICK and J. MULLNER (DV1/Southbound DVD)

In the tragically vast annals of war, the battle for Stalingrad stands out for the horrendous loss of life, the stubborness and arrogance of Adolf Hitler, the horrors that the German 6th Army endured imprisoned in that city, and the dreadful aftermath. This award-winning, three-part documentary resiles from none of that and if it perhaps...

MARILYN by ANDRE de DIENES: Little girl heading for the big time

MARILYN by ANDRE de DIENES: Little girl heading for the big time

For those who came of age after her death, Marilyn Monroe belongs to that generation of American males whose idea of cool was smoking a pipe and reading Playboy. That seems pretty tame to those who grew up with designer drugs and Hustler -- so Marilyn is merely a frozen image from a safer era of the sexual revolution. The mystique of...

Kurt Vonnegut, Simon Heselev: Tock Tick (1973/2003)

Kurt Vonnegut, Simon Heselev: Tock Tick (1973/2003)

Kurt Vonnegut seems an unlikely collaborator with a jazz bassist from Melbourne -- but that is what happened in 2003 when the famous author allowed Australian musician and studio engineer Heselev to put music to his '73 reading of a section from his famous book Slaughterhouse Five. Heselev takes up the story about how, after graduating from...

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

In one of those excellent but buried television programmes, various photographers who were in the Vietnam killing zones told of the stories behind some of those images imprinted on the collective memory of a generation. That shot of the young girl running down the road, her back on fire from napalm? It was initially rejected...

PHILIP LARKIN ON JAZZ: The poet laureate of swing

PHILIP LARKIN ON JAZZ: The poet laureate of swing

Because we listen to the jazz of the Thirties and Forties at such an emotional distance, it is almost impossible for the 21st century, iPod-carrying, cool post-modernist to feel something -- possibly even anything -- of what so affected those who heard it as fresh, exciting, innovative and daring at the time. It is hard to sell the idea, let...

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

Music writer Marcus is so well ensconced in the pantheon of great rock writers that his books are universally hailed on publication. But this one -- a series of essays on Morrison's music which, confusingly, comes in the same cover photo as another similar Morrison book and appears in the US and UK entitled When That Rough God Goes Riding --...

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC; BOB DYLAN'S BASEMENT TAPES by GREIL MARCUS:

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC; BOB DYLAN'S BASEMENT TAPES by GREIL MARCUS:

When Bob Dylan skidded off his motorcycle in upstate New York in mid-1966, it allowed him an extraordinary career hiatus. Before his accident - which some Dylan bores still insist never happened - he’d been a Woody Guthrie wannabe, a folk troubadour and protest singer. Then, by plugging in an electric guitar and touring with a...

DEE DEE RAMONE INTERVIEWED (1998): Life in the grim lane

DEE DEE RAMONE INTERVIEWED (1998): Life in the grim lane

First, there is a moral here, honest. But there's a lot of drugs to get through first. So, let’s set the scene: the Chelsea Hotel on West Twenty Third, New York City, for decades home to the talented and the tragic. Within these thick walls Arthur Miller wrote three novels, a plaque outside acknowledges Dylan Thomas “from...

LOST IN MUSIC, by GILES SMITH

LOST IN MUSIC, by GILES SMITH

Pop obsession can be tragic stuff: those long days in record shops searching for an obscure Flock of Seagulls 12-inch; the nights spent putting all your albums into alphabetical order (do solo projects by Roddy Frame go with Aztec Camera or get their own space?); the decisions to be made when moving in with someone (do you pool your records...

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

At a recent Paul Weller gig at the Powerstation -- me with a wide smile, it was thrilling -- I was reminded again just how many great concerts it has been my pleasure to have been at, and the collective power of music to bring people together for a shared experience. There are many of us who count milestones in our lives which have a great...

Charles Bukowski: I've Always Had Trouble with Money (1970?)

Charles Bukowski: I've Always Had Trouble with Money (1970?)

The notorious barfly-poet Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) lived longer than most of those who have been careful and healthy and, like Keith Richards, used his body as a laboratory (for booze in Bukowski's case). But he was no drop-down drunk (well, he was but . . .) and wrote often funny but moving prose poems and short stories. He inspired...

STRAVINSKY; ONCE, AT A BORDER, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

STRAVINSKY; ONCE, AT A BORDER, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

When Tony Palmer made this acclaimed and insightful documentary about Igor Stravinsky on the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth, the great man had been dead less than a decade. As with the other docos by Palmer previously mentioned at Elsewhere (notably All You Need is Love), the filmmaker was therefore close to the lifetime and...

IN THE CITY; A CELEBRATION OF LONDON MUSIC by PAUL Du NOYER

IN THE CITY; A CELEBRATION OF LONDON MUSIC by PAUL Du NOYER

Some cities are shaped and defined by their soundtrack: Salzburg and Mozart; Liverpool and the Beatles; Seattle and Nirvana . . .   But you don't envy anyone undertaking the task of writing about the music of London given the city's long musical history and its exceptional diversity. Is there a link between the barrow boys of the East...

DAVE DAVIES KRONIKLES; MYSTIKAL JOURNEY, a doco by DAVE DAVIES AND MARTIN DAVIES (DVD/CD)

DAVE DAVIES KRONIKLES; MYSTIKAL JOURNEY, a doco by DAVE DAVIES AND MARTIN DAVIES (DVD/CD)

Given that Dave Davies contributed the raw guitar sound to early Kinks hits such as You Really Got Me, grew up in the same household as his famous songwriter brother Ray, was part of the notoriously warring siblings (on stage often, they anticipate Oasis in that regard) and had a solo hit with Death of Clown among many other things -- not to...

LISTEN TO THIS by ALEX ROSS

LISTEN TO THIS by ALEX ROSS

One of the many funny lines in the profanity-strewn satirical film In the Loop came from the character Jamie Macdonald, the senior press officer in 10 Downing Street and the “angriest man in Scotland”. On hearing opera he bellowed, “It's just vowels! Subsidised, foreign fucking vowels!” The New Yorker music...

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

It would be a fair guess to say Michael Chugg has been at more shows than any musician you can name. Because when musicians take a break Chugg is at another show. Not that he actually sits down and sees them, as a promoter he's more likely to be backstage somewhere or, as at Gorillaz last year, just popping out to stand at the side of the...

LOST AND FOUND IN SPACE: To boldly split an infinitive

LOST AND FOUND IN SPACE: To boldly split an infinitive

Some time in the mid-Seventies the late Alistair Cooke – in one of his patrician but always fascinating Letter From America programmes – spoke about an old editor he worked under. On a slow news day the editor would haul out a book of important events in history and scour the pages. He’d usually return with a wonderful...

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

Shortly after Leo Bensemann's death in January 1986, Dennis Donovan wrote a tribute to him in Landfall, the magazine which the artist and graphic designer had long been associated with, and which he also edited for a period. Donovan's tribute was generous (“more than a genius – he was also a scholar, a learned man”) but...

I FELT LIKE A FIGHT, ALRIGHT? by RUTH CARR

I FELT LIKE A FIGHT, ALRIGHT? by RUTH CARR

While it seems to be going too far to suggest, as the reviewer of Radio NZ National did, that these "one-liners, poems, lyrics and tales" are "reminiscent of Cohen's mid-career poetry and writings" they are certainly more than merely diverting. The writer -- Ruth Carr of the band Minuit -- has some snappy aphorisms, odd...

A MICRONAUT IN THE WIDE WORLD; THE IMAGINATIVE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRAHAM PERCY by GREGORY O'BRIEN

A MICRONAUT IN THE WIDE WORLD; THE IMAGINATIVE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRAHAM PERCY by GREGORY O'BRIEN

Perhaps because he is a poet and curator, Gregory O'Brien here approaches the life of the New Zealand-born artist Graham Percy with an eye for subtle (and sometimes strong) artistic connections more than strict chronology. And this is a fitting approach to an artist whose work slipped easily between many styles and practices, from...

THE COMMONPLACE BOOK by ELIZABETH SMITHER

THE COMMONPLACE BOOK by ELIZABETH SMITHER

Some years ago I was walking down Queen St in central Auckland and stopped outside the Body Shop. There, along an exterior wall, was written one of those thought-provoking and inspirational quotes which are designed to prod the conscience, in this instance about the fragility of Mother Earth. Or maybe it wasn't a quote. It was in...

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

As with many of his generation, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt had been taken by the idea of “Shangri-La”, that tolerant refuge from a troubled world James Hilton had written about in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon and which Frank Capra had adapted four years later for his enormously popular film of the same name,...

William S. Burroughs: The Mummy Piece (1981)

William S. Burroughs: The Mummy Piece (1981)

Even if you know nothing about William Seward Burroughs (1914-97), when he read from his novels a chill might run down your spine. His slewed, acidic, vitriolic and downright nasty style added an extra dimension of menace to his disturbing visions where heroin, politics, mythology, guns, the CIA and cheap detective stories were cut up and...

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

As these two slim, hand-printed, limited edition volumes confirm, the necessaries of the poetic writer are observation and considered contemplation, and the words are vehicles which realise them. And for the photographer, close observation and an eye that edits intuitively come before the shutter opens and closes. Writer, poet and...

AMY WINEHOUSE: THE BIOGRAPHY 1983-2011 by CHAS NEWKEY-BURDEN

AMY WINEHOUSE: THE BIOGRAPHY 1983-2011 by CHAS NEWKEY-BURDEN

As with many of my acquaintance, when I heard of Amy Winehouse's death it was with mixed emotions: a gloomy sense of the inevitability of it, sadness and then anger. That weird anger we reserve for those who have committed suicide or gone out in the manner of so many talented people, before their time and by their own actions. Winehouse was...

ARNOLD ZABLE INTERVIEWED (2011): Speaking for those who cannot

ARNOLD ZABLE INTERVIEWED (2011): Speaking for those who cannot

When the Australian writer Arnold Zable read Primo Levi's reference to “the eloquent episode” in prose he recognised immediately what was meant. His own short pieces, fiction and non-fiction, frequently have a memorable incident as an emotional or structural pivot. In each story of his non-fiction collection Violin Lessons...

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together ragged-edge performance poet (Shane Hollands) and a funk-rock rhythm section. It's a debut album which will be something of a revelation for those...

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