Writing in Elsewhere

Books, authors, spoken word and poetry which may appeal to the curious spirit of Elsewhere.

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CHAOS: CHARLES MANSON, THE CIA, AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE SIXTIES by TOM O'NEILL with DAN PIEPENBRING

10 Sep 2019  |  4 min read

This being the 50thanniversary of what has become known as the Manson Murders – and Quentin Tarantino currently weighing in with his version of events on the periphery of those particular horrors – you'd think there would be little more to be said. There have been dozens of books and articles in the five decades since the arrest of Manson and his Family, and films and TV... > Read more

FRANCES HODGKINS; EUROPEAN JOURNEYS edited by CATHERINE HAMMOND and MARY KISLER

29 Apr 2019  |  4 min read

There is a delightful little watercolour – smaller than an A4 sheet – painted by Frances Hodgkins in 1930. It is of a gateway on the Riviera. She was 31 and on her way to Britain and it seems that this was the first painting she did outside of New Zealand which she had recently left for the first time. If that is so, it is a wonderfully emblematic work: women in the... > Read more

INNER CITY PRESSURE; THE STORY OF GRIME by DAN HANCOX

26 Apr 2019  |  4 min read

In 2006 the American Mark Kurlansky wrote The Big Oyster; History on the Half Shell which was nominally about the history of oysters and oyster bars in New York City (oysters as big as babies in the Hudson when European colonists arrived) but was in fact the story of the city itself. This idea of a topic expanding into social, cultural and political history was not new – Kurlansky had... > Read more

Pow! (Forward), by Lethal Bizzle

RUFUS MARIGOLD by ROSS MURRAY

1 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Those of us who have not suffered from anxiety cannot truly know how paralysing it can be. And the notion of “anxiety attacks” is something of a misnomer, the anxiety is always there for many people. Tauranga-based writer and artist Ross Murray – whose beautiful hard-edge but warm style Elsewhere has has showcased in the past – suffers from anxiety (not as much as he... > Read more

DON'T SKIP OUT ON ME, a novel by WILLY VLAUTIN

28 Feb 2019  |  2 min read

When the young Mexican boxer Hector Hidalgo stepped into the ring wearing his red trunks trimmed with gold and bearing embroidered Thompson machine guns alongside his name, he wasn't there. He wasn't Hector. Hector Hidalgo was in fact Horace Hopper, part-Paiute/part Irish, who not only didn't speak Spanish -- a language he found difficult to learn – but didn't even like the spicy... > Read more

TRUE? Short stories by MICHAEL BOTUR

20 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

Northland writer Michael Botur is certainly prolific and hard-working. True? is his fifth such short story collection (and he wrote a novel) but he is also a columnist, blogger, writes corporate communications and advertising and now in his early Thirties has been making a living from writing since he was 21. Given all that background – and a Masters in Creative Writing from AUT and a... > Read more

APHORISMS: GIFTED ONE-LINERS by KELVIN ROY-GAPPER

5 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

Kelvin Roy is a New Zealand-based musician who is prolific in that field with a dozen albums for children alongside his jazz and popular work (notably with the Jews Brothers). But there is more to Roy than that. US-born, he grew up with a father who was a newspaper editor who, as he says in the introduction to this book, “specialized, among other things, in... > Read more

DANCING BETWEEN THE NOTES by JOHN FENTON

1 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

Aucklander John Fenton is a jazz aficionado and writer, a traveller into elsewhere and a poet who dedicates this collection to a number of jazz artists, and his friend and fellow writer Iain Sharp . . . and, of course, to family. Inevitably jazz, travel and reflection on a long life – he admits to having done everything from digging ditches to being a secretary to various... > Read more

NOWHERE NEAR by ALICE MILLER

8 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

The first time I went back to Britain as an adult (or at least a late-teen) I wrote in the journal I was carrying that “England is full of dead people”. Graveyards in villages, St Paul's and other such monuments, churchyards covered in tombstones, large areas where ancient battles were fought and the soil had been nurtured by the blood, bone and flesh of the dead . . . Most... > Read more

ASTRID KIRCHHERR WITH THE BEATLES, photography by ASTRID KIRCHHERR

1 Aug 2018  |  2 min read

When the doco on Amy Winehouse came out it was hardly a surprise that there should be so much footage of her as a child, teenage performer and aspiring singer in the many years before she became famous. She, as with anyone born after about 1970, is of the generations when parents and family had cheaper and portable video cameras. Previous generations of parents and family might have had... > Read more

THE FEATHER THIEF by KIRK WALLACE JOHNSON

26 Jul 2018  |  3 min read

When the refugee advocate-turned self-appointed sleuth Kirk Wallace Johnson finally got to meet his quarry – a master thief called Edwin Rist –Johnson's wife expressed fears for his safety. After all, who really knew what this young American would be like now that he had been tracked down in Dusseldorf? But, said Johnson to Marie-Josie, shrugging the possible danger off,... > Read more

PAUL SIMON, A LIFE by ROBERT HILBURN

8 Jul 2018  |  3 min read

For someone who can be prickly in interviews, defensive when criticised and whose private life has been off-limits, Paul Simon offered rare and unfettered access to longtimeLos Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn for this account of his life from childhood to this year. In more than 100 hours of interviews over three years, giving permission for Hilburn to speak with his friends, (Art... > Read more

I, ME, MINE; THE EXTENDED EDITION by GEORGE HARRISON

6 Jul 2018  |  2 min read

When George Harrison's slight autobiography I, Me Mine was first published in 1980 as a limited edition hardback his onetime friend John Lennon was livid. He said George had barely mentioned him (true, just 11 single references in about 80 pages of text, and there in only half a dozen of the many photos) and Lennon was angry that the kid he got into his band would be so ungrateful. But... > Read more

WHY BOB DYLAN MATTERS by RICHARD F THOMAS

21 Jun 2018  |  7 min read  |  1

When 77-year old Bob Dylan plays two concerts in New Zealand in August – Auckland on 28, Christchurch two nights later – it is hard to fathom who might turn out to see him. There will be the loyalists who will enjoy and decode for days if not months what he does, and no doubt the curious who think that – despite dire warnings he can no longer sing as he once did, mostly... > Read more

Andrew Fagan: It Was Always Going To Be Like This (bandcamp)

20 Apr 2018  |  1 min read

Outside the circle of poets and writers from academia and creative writing courses anointed by a cabal of similarly inclined critics, there have always been those who find their audience by a more direct route, by a clear and unmediated connection with the broader population. In this group we have, however unfashionable and even reviled he might be today, novelist Barry Crump, and of course... > Read more

THE BULFORD KIWI; THE KIWI WE LEFT BEHIND by COLLEEN BROWN

19 Apr 2018  |  4 min read  |  2

The question is very simple and so should the answer be, but let's ask it anyway. When World War I ended with the armistice on November 11, 1918 what happened to the thousands of New Zealand soldiers – around 40,000 stationed in Europe and Britain – who had left their homeland to fight and were now still in Europe? The answer of course is obvious: They came back home.... > Read more

LOU REED; A LIFE, a biography by ANTHONY DeCURTIS

23 Nov 2017  |  3 min read

Lou Reed used to say that people would boast about being insulted by him. Not this guy, I twice declined the opportunity to do a phone interview with him because . . . Well, it was the late Eighties and mid Nineties and he wasn't just cantankerous about his obvious genius not being recognised but also would subject interviewers to some interrogation before... > Read more

LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL by MICK WALL

14 Nov 2017  |  2 min read

The cover is awful, the subtitle misleading (“The Larger Than Life Story of Meat Loaf”) and writing by the prolific rock journalist Mick Wall sometimes reads like a potboiler knocked off at speed. But for all that, and especially for those who don'y know the backstory of the fraught relationship between Meat Loaf and songwriter/creative director Jim Steinman, this is a... > Read more

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

AUTUMN OF LOVE by DAVE ALLEN

21 Oct 2017  |  5 min read

Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit pop music museums and exhibitions around the world – and Elsewhere as seen them in Tokyo, London, Seattle, Sweden and Oslo – will attest to how quickly trends in popular music travel. Within weeks of Elvis breaking out in 1956 there were copyists and those adopting rock’n’roll in Mexico, Whakatane, Tokyo, Scandinavia and... > Read more

TEENAGERS; THE RISE OF YOUTH CULTURE IN NEW ZEALAND by CHRIS BRICKELL

21 Jul 2017  |  5 min read

Sometimes when I am talking to my university students about the rise of rock'n'roll in the Fifties – the first musical genre to specifically target teens – I tell them, just to get their attention again, that my parents were never teenagers. They look bewildered and so I explain: my mother in Scotland left school at 14 and my father in this country at 15, and both went to... > Read more