Something Elsewhere

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

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TODAY IN HISTORY: The day John Kennedy died

22 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

In an interview with Elsewhere in advance (well in advance) of his two concerts in New Zealand in 2014, the conversation with Steve Earle turned -- as it usually does with him -- to politics. After some to and fro about various issues of homelessness and such, I asked him why he had the same touchstones in his lyrics (Guthrie, Kennedy, Kerouac) and if they symbolised something in America... > Read more

Radio broadcast WQMR, Nov 22, 1963

THE NZ MUSIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES (2020): Here's the who's who of "who?"

31 Oct 2020  |  5 min read

The New Zealand Music Hall of Fame has been contentious, right from its first inductees Johnny Devlin and Jordan Luck in 2007. Many complain certain eras or important figures have not been represented. If you're a teenager you might look at an old inductee and say, “Who?”. If you're of pensionable age and some young upstart in their 40s is acknowledged you might say the same.... > Read more

AOTEAROA MUSIC AWARDS 2020 NOMINEES: I'd like to thank . . .

18 Oct 2020  |  5 min read

Now to be known as the Aotearoa Music Awards (AMA, same initials as the American Music Awards unfortunately), the annual awards for New Zealand music of all persuasions -- from alternative to children's music, from te reo Maori to cover design -- will take place this year on Sunday November 15. Obviously things have been a little confused and uncertain of late in these Covid days but more... > Read more

THE BEATLES AS COMIC AND CARTOON CHARACTERS (2020): The greatest story ever sold, and sold again . . .

16 Sep 2020  |  3 min read  |  1

From the moment they first appeared, the Beatles' look was so distinctive that it only took a few scribbles of a black pencil and you had the makings of a mop-top hairstyle. Often not much more than that appeared in advertisements and on Beatle product. It was a powerful enough visual signifier. As individuals they were also distinctive so by the time they had got a couple of hits... > Read more

THE ALBUM ART OF EXOTICA (2020): Bachelor pad images from a time before this

31 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

It was long ago and – for many in the US, UK and the rest of the Western world – far away and rather exotic. Hawaiian music was enormously popular from the Thirties onwards and for many people the restful sound of lap steel guitars evoked palm trees swaying in the breeze, the lap of the waves against the side of the outrigger and other such cliches poured into a... > Read more

THE FINALISTS, 2020 APRA SILVER SCROLL NOMINEES: And the judges decision will be final . . .

22 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

The annual Silver Scroll Award – which was founded in 1965 – acknowledges the depth of original songwriting in Aotearoa New Zealand, but there can only be one winner. The award goes to the song which the members of APRA considers the best song of the year, regardless of how much or little it sold or was played on media outlets. The award is for quality not quantity. The... > Read more

A FURTHER FIVE FOR FEWER THAN FIFTY: It looks weird and a bit scratched, but it's cheap

10 Aug 2020  |  6 min read

Previously Elsewhere has written about cheap vinyl picked up and enjoyed (or endured) because in a world of collectors out for rarities or obscurities we would like to note that not every old record is a hidden treasure. Some records are just rubbish. But a few even among the detritus can still be enjoyable albums going cheap. So once again we take $50 for a walk around a secondhand... > Read more

TONY'S RESTAURANT IN AUCKLAND (2020): Home away from home, endangered

4 Aug 2020  |  1 min read

There’s a scene that has played out hundreds of times at Tony’s restaurant on Wellesley Street in central Auckland. I’ve witnessed it frequently. A young person, possibly a student, asks if there’s any chance of waiting work. Often they are anxious and looking for their first paying job, maybe presenting what passes for a CV at their age. But time and again... > Read more

FIVE FOR FEWER THAN FIFTY: Picking up homeless albums from the rescue shelter

29 Jul 2020  |  7 min read

There are websites and online pages dedicated to the serious art of collecting vinyl records from secondhand shops, junk bins and so on. Most people are looking for rarities and items of value, and that is fine and worthy. Nice to see them going into collections where they will be cared for. Elsewhere's not like that, our vinyl shopping entails assessments such as “that looks... > Read more

FIVE FAMOUS BUT OVER-RATED ALBUMS IN ROCK: Acclaimed often, disappointing or dull mostly

22 May 2020  |  7 min read

Picking bad albums is child's play, acclaiming classics even easier still because mostly the work has been done for you by generations of critics, fans and the foolhardy. And acclaiming some obscurity as a lost classic is a breeze because chances are most people haven't heard it so aren't in a position to agree or disagree. However picking over-rated albums is much more difficult... > Read more

WHAT'S WHAT WITH AUSTRALIAN ROCK? (2020): Bizarre band names from across the Tasman

10 May 2020  |  3 min read

The place was some time in the Eighties and the time was a pub in suburban Sydney . . . and yes, that's how confused the memory is. But something comes through clearly, the band playing that night were called Nuns in Traction. I don't know that they played that often, or even ever again. They just joined that long list of bands with names like A Couple of Jugs of Cold Pork Fat who I... > Read more

The 11th TAITE MUSIC PRIZE (2020): Make a date for the Taite, mate

1 May 2020  |  3 min read

Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of New Zealand’s most respected music journalists, the award recognises outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one recording. The prize winner will receive a cash prize of NZ$12,500 to be spent as they wish, thanks to Taite Music Prize founding partner Recorded Music NZ; recording time at Red Bull Studios... > Read more

THE BRITISH COUNTERCULTURES, ARCHIVED (2020): Shall we go to the pub or the protest?

26 Apr 2020  |  3 min read  |  2

The British counterculture movements from the late Fifties onwards have been difficult to define and comprehend from our geographical, political and social distance. The decade up to the Rolling Stones' ambiguous Street Fighting Man simply blurs into images of CND protests, poetry events, Richard Neville and the Schoolkids issue of Oz, Tariq Ali, Michael X, the Grosvenor Square... > Read more

ANOTHER SPIN OF HISTORY'S WHEEL (2020): Music in the time of solitude

3 Apr 2020  |  4 min read

About 140 years ago when Thomas Edison made a machine which captured sound he initially thought it could preserve the grand statements and speeches of great men. But he quickly realised – even before his phonograph which used wax-coated cylinders was made available – here was how music could be passed down the generations, the past always present in the future. Edison wasn't... > Read more

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AIN'T FREE (2020): The lives – and livelihoods – of others

27 Mar 2020  |  2 min read

Well, the “gig economy” that sociologists and economists were so excited about has gone belly-up for most of those involved. People in the creative arts who relied on an audience are doing it harder than many right now. Time for those of us who have enjoyed their labours to lend a hand. We here at Elsewhere have never illegally downloaded a movie or music, have... > Read more

EIGHT OBSCURE USA INDIE SINGLES I'M SURPRISED I OWN: And believe me, eight is enough!

13 Jan 2020  |  5 min read

The small town of Paeroa in New Zealand's North Island (the other island being named . . .) can make a couple of claims for itself. First, it is the origin of the “world famous in New Zealand” soft-drink Lemon & Paeroa, and second that it is the antiques capital of the country. These days “antiques” mostly just means old stuff, but in the town's many such... > Read more

THE BEATLES' CHRISTMAS RECORDS: (2019) They wanna wish you a merry crimble and a gear new year

20 Dec 2019  |  6 min read

Among the many remarkable things about the Beatles' short but crowded career in the global eye was that despite touring, recording, making films, doing interviews, filming clips of songs for broadcast (the precursors of video clips) and so much more, they managed to keep going in to the BBC studios to record radio shows. They first recorded for the Beeb before they had a record contract... > Read more

CHRIS KNOX, COLLECTED AND DONATED (2019): From Enemy to archive

13 Dec 2019  |  3 min read

As some Elsewhere readers will perhaps know, for a couple of years I was one of the rostered caregivers for Chris Knox who suffered a stroke in June 2009. Although limited in physical function, Chris kept his wicked sense of humour, penchant for pranks and winding people up, and even began painting again . . . with his left hand. Examples of his work can be seen and purchased from... > Read more

10 UNUSUAL ECM ALBUMS OF THE EIGHTIES I OWN (2019): But there's no pattern to the pattern . . .

29 Nov 2019  |  9 min read

When Manfred Eicher founded his record label ECM (Editions of Contemporary Music) in 1969 it was, he told Elsewhere in a 1992 interview, with a view to recording jazz at the same high quality afforded to classical music.  At that time however most of the key jazz musicians had found homes on important big or small American labels, so ECM was launched with the... > Read more

THE NEW LOOK TUI AWARD (2019): A gift for stars inspired by stars

21 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

Last year at the invitation of the Vodafone New Zealand Music Award, the artist Dick Frizzell redesigned the iconic Tui award (see here) and the idea being that every year another artist or designer would bring their own stamp to it, making the Tui awards from now on being unique to that year. This year jeweler and designer Boh Runga  of the band Stellar* – and a former... > Read more