Something Elsewhere

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

26 May 2014  |  4 min read  |  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  |  2 min read

This week I was invited to a function in Auckland hosted by 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  |  5 min read  |  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  |  6 min read

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  |  4 min read  |  1

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


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

23 Mar 2014  |  2 min read  |  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  |  4 min read

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 Shameful 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

A CRITIC INTERVIEWED (2004): Putting opinion in print

8 Jan 2014  |  <1 min read

A decade ago I was interviewed by Trevor Reekie of National Radio as part of his series about music writing and critics. I recently found the CD of it which he gave me -- the 30 minute un-editied version was very loose and funny and the anecdotes were obviously embellished -- but this edited seven minute version covers a fair bit of ground. The Mick Jagger story I mentioned is... > Read more

THE IDIOT BOY WHO FLEW: A story of saints, holy fools and Southern Italy

3 Jan 2014  |  32 min read  |  3

A strange journey begins with some good advice---the saint and storyteller---from Amalfi to ugly---the romance of Italy considered---a shocking discovery---the sad south---the idiot boy---the flying men of a faraway place---even more aerial saints---the hometown of the idiot boy---inflationary practices among the Catholics---once upon a time of miracles---the why and wherefore---a dark... > Read more

MONEY DON'T GET EVERYTHING IT'S TRUE: What it don't get, I can't use

15 Sep 2013  |  2 min read

In a Mumbai bar a guy from Amsterdam tells me (from New Zealand), about an American television programme. Despite the cultural collisions of that, he's got a good story. Apparently the host – Jimmy Kimmel or maybe Conan O'Brien, he couldn't remember – went into the street and asked passers-by whose face was on the dollar bill. Rather than admit they didn't know – it's... > Read more

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Sounds peculiar to me, pal

11 Sep 2013  |  <1 min read

In this fast 15 minute programme we listen to the sound of unusual instruments like PVC pipes, flowerpots and other found objects. Peculiar, but in a good way. For more of these fast 15 minute programmes go here > Read more

point that thing the other way

A FAST 15 MINUTES: The ones that got away

4 Sep 2013  |  <1 min read

Well known artists can deliver great songs, but they don't often find an audience. This 15 minute audio programme introduces some that unfortunately went right past most people. For more of these fast 15 minute programmes go here > Read more

hey, stop and listen to this!

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Storytime for big kids

28 Aug 2013  |  <1 min read

If you've got 15 minutes to spare here are some stories and nonsense lyrics to amuse . . . and hopefully brighten your day. For more of these fast 15 minute programmes go here > Read more

you gotta laugh, mate

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Is it better in English?

21 Aug 2013  |  <1 min read

A 15 minute programme of familiar songs sung in a language other than that in which they were written. The global village goes pop, in its own words. For more of these fast 15 minute programmes go here > Read more

oh, i know this one!

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Power Pop

14 Aug 2013  |  <1 min read  |  1

And here a pathway through power pop for when you have 15 minutes to spare. From the Searchers and the Ramones through an alphabet of Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star . . . Enjoy. And you can read more about power pop at Elsewhere starting here.  For more of these fast 15 minute programmes go here > Read more

pop turned up to eleven

SOUL FOOD Y'ALL: Inna German style?

23 Jul 2013  |  2 min read

To be honest, for many decades I thought succotash was some kind of cuss word. That was probably because I'd seen the perpetually angry Loony Tunes character Yosemite Sam bellow out "sufferin' succotash" one time -- and that fitted right in alongside his other, largely unintelligble, quasi-profanities. These days I know that succotash is a cheap and easy beans, tomatoes and... > Read more

Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries

WIRED FOR SOUND: Electronic music for the mind and body

3 Jul 2013  |  3 min read

When composer Douglas Lilburn left New Zealand at the dawn of the Sixties, it was because he felt he had been isolated from developments in contemporary music, and he was curious about electronic music.* He was almost 50 when he left in '63 to travel to Hawaii, New York, Paris and England where he visited electronic studios, such as the BBC Radiophonic Studio in London, famous for producing... > Read more



24 May 2013  |  8 min read  |  1

The occasional installments in this series of shameful record covers which I have in my possession always comes with this caveat: if you're curious about any you shouldn't pay more than $6 for them. I didn't, and that's the point. If you buy an album for its cover art -- odd, frightening, kitsch or whatever -- then you do need to keep some perspective. Given you probably won't know the... > Read more

She Went So Lonely


10 Apr 2013  |  7 min read  |  3

Further to previous confessional postings along these lines (here and here), this is another installment in albums bought on the basis of their cover art -- although "art" is perhaps far too lofty a word for most. Bought out of curiosity about their contents, might be a better way of putting it. And what better one to start with than this appropriately titled collection . . .... > Read more


THE CRITIC REVILED (2013): With Ringo and BB KIng reviewed

11 Feb 2013  |  5 min read

There are many perils in writing reviews: you might report a song title incorrectly, you might misname a member of the backing band, you might get abuse and threats in a bar afterwards . . . sometimes many years afterwards, especially from a musician who feels you didn't accurate report their particular genius. The internet has actually helped the hapless reviewer, people can now pour their... > Read more