Something Elsewhere

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Exploring Nature's Pattern Magic by Dee and Mike Pigneguy (Mary Egan Publishing)

16 Aug 2015  |  <1 min read

Although Elsewhere isn't here for children we do acknowledge they exist. (They are the small human-like creatures that I am forced to stop for outside schools, right?) Anyway from time to time-- especially when Robin Nathan releases an album -- we like to throw the spotlight on something for the kids. And this book came our way which -- although visually very busy -- looks like it would... > Read more

HALF A CENTURY OF ORIGINAL NEW ZEALAND SONGS (2015): 50 Years of the Silver Scroll award

3 Jul 2015  |  2 min read

Looking back, 1965 was a watershed year in New Zealand popular music. The snowball effect of the Beatles and the sound of British pop fuelled the local music scene and suddenly bands were everywhere and. Accordingly, venues opened up to accommodate them. It was significant that in '65 television also caught up with the game in the form of pop television shows (locally... > Read more

40 YEARS OF THE NEW ZEALAND MUSIC CHARTS (2015): Pub quiz time, folks

28 May 2015  |  <1 min read

Some weeks ago when it was clear there would be some celebration of four decades of official music charts in New Zealand, one of those researching it asked me a question which stumped me. What New Zealand act had three consecutive number one singles? And no, it wasn't a Finn or Dave Dobbyn. The answer when it came made me reconsider just how much I knew about pop hits. It was... > Read more


28 May 2015  |  1 min read

The annual festival of photography which opens in Auckland today at various locations, is more than just a showcase of the work by many and diverse photographers but also offers the viewer an insight into the lives of others. And many images also tell us something about we live. The full programme for the festival is here, but note also it includes not just exhibitions but workshops,... > Read more

AUSTRALIAN AUTOMOBILE DESIGN EXHIBIT (2015): G'day Bruce, godda new mowda?

15 May 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

Amidst the highly polished and gleamingly seductive automobile flesh in Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria right now is an oddity which draws a lot of attention. It is a battered, dust-coloured flatbed Ford ute from 1934. It was found under a peppercorn tree in nearby Gippsland in the 80s and is presented much as it was, untouched by restoration. In the company of... > Read more

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

23 Apr 2015  |  1 min read

When the recording of Blue Smoke by the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette was released in February 1949, the Second World War had only been over for around three and half years. The memories of loved ones who never returned were still fresh and painful, and in many homes -- even for decades after -- their photos were on lounge walls or the top of the sideboard. Or lining the walls of marae... > Read more

RECORD STORE DAY 2015: Back to black

13 Apr 2015  |  6 min read  |  1

The annual Record Store Day is an opportunity to show the love for vinyl as artists local and international issue good old fashioned records, many of them limited editions and often coming in special packaging. So now is not the time to be worried about the credit card, just let it do the work this coming Saturday, April 18. We offer here a quick rundown on what stores are doing... > Read more

THE TAITE MUSIC AWARD FINALISTS 2015: Money changes everything?

8 Apr 2015  |  13 min read

Every year since 2010 the Taite Music Prize – named for the late journalist and music aficionado Dylan Taite – goes to an artist whose album of the previous year, irrespective of commercial success, is considered outstanding for its consistent creativity. Previous winners have been: Lawrence Arabia, Chant Darling (2010); Ladi6 ‘The Liberation Of’ (2011);... > Read more

VIETNAM IN 1969: A true story

8 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

In 1969, as an 18-year old, I went to Vietnam. Not to fight of course, but as a short-term "tourist". It was a brief event in a long life but confirmed for me even at that early age that here was a war which could not be won by traditional military means. I thought the same of various countries in the Middle East when I flew over them some decades later. A few years ago I was... > Read more

LUCIA CARBINES INTERVIEWED (2014): The girl in the bubble

19 Jan 2015  |  7 min read

When Lucia Carbines says some bodies are more flexible than others you believe her, because this affable, Christchurch-born 20-year old is the elastic proof. As “Miss A In A Bubble” – wearing a stars'n'stripes one-piece, her long hair tucked into a red bob wig – Carbines performs her balletic contortions at the Empire show in the Spiegeltent to audiences hushed... > Read more

THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC AWARDS (2014): Come and see the real thing . . .

27 Nov 2014  |  6 min read  |  1

The Star in Sydney – a block-occupying casino-cum-hotel with restaurant and bar complexes so large it needs needs no other name than that for a taxi driver – has at least half a dozen entrances. As I discovered. But to find the red carpet for the ARIAs – the Australian music awards – was easy. I just followed the screams. Last night among... > Read more

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

21 Nov 2014  |  5 min read

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

BADFINGER and HARRY NILSSON: Without them, no Without You

3 Nov 2014  |  2 min read  |  6

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

BIEBER FEVER (2010): In defense of cheap pop

1 Oct 2014  |  3 min read

Police. Security. Screams. A singer comes to town. Because I've spent the past week immersed in a collection of essays and rants entitled Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, I'm a bit bemused but increasingly annoyed by the babble from adults about tweenie star Justin Bieber. I heard him on radio dismissed with the self-damning line from a commentator, “I'd never heard of him... > Read more

ALL APOLOGIES: The insincerities of saying sorry

1 Oct 2014  |  2 min read  |  1

An apology means nothing if you do it on Facebook or You Tube. Or Twitter or e-mail or txt. Or a talk show. An apology by an actor who cries probably doesn’t mean much. These people are actors, they are trained to fake sincerity. An apology by a politician who appears contrite probably doesn’t mean much. These people are politicians, they are trained to fake... > Read more

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

29 Aug 2014  |  11 min read  |  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  |  3 min read  |  6

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  |  11 min read  |  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 WORLD COMES TO SARAWAK (2014): The Rainforest World Music Festival

27 Jun 2014  |  3 min read

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  |  <1 min read

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