Writing in Elsewhere

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

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LIVING THE BEATLES LEGEND by KENNETH WOMACK

14 Feb 2024  |  5 min read

If anyone deserves a massive, 500 page biography – with what seems like three titles – it would be Elvis fan and lover of Westerns Mal Evans. He went from being a married 27-year old Post Office technician with a mortgage and a child to a part-time bouncer at Liverpool's Cavern Club and then one of the Beatles' inner sanctum as roadie, companion and general factotum for a band... > Read more

AFTER THE TAMPA by ABBAS NAZARI

6 Feb 2024  |  1 min read

Decades ago, at Refugee and Migrant Services in Auckland, I glanced at a map showing that vast territory between Greece and India, lands unfamiliar to most New Zealanders but from which refugees and migrants would increasingly arrive: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Syria. Someone observed that when these people told their stories, our culture and view of the world would change... > Read more

THE LIVES OF NICO AND KEITH RICHARDS, RECOUNTED (1994): Rock'n'role models

29 Jan 2024  |  <1 min read

When there is time, Elsewhere will be sourcing a rich vein of its archival material which was published in various places during the Eighties and Nineties which are not available on-line. These will most often be reproduced as they appeared in print. Some may be a little fuzzy in the reproduction but we think the story or interview are worth it for researchers or fans. Best read on a... > Read more

IMPERIAL ISLAND by CHARLOTTE LYDIA RILEY

12 Jan 2024  |  5 min read

With colonisation under the microscope as a lightning rod in our own country (and sometimes a default position to close down a more wide and deep debate), this interesting if sometimes flawed book allows us to lift our eyes to look through the telescope at how Britain, and most particularly England, has been impacted by its imperial expansion, immigration and then the end of empire through... > Read more

WARHOL AFTER WARHOL by RICHARD DORMENT

5 Jan 2024  |  5 min read

The late art critic Robert Hughes – who once described Andy Warhol as being “credited with sibylline wisdom because he was an absence conspicuous by its presence” – was an insightful and barbed writer, as adept and astute about the art market as the art itself. Again, here's Hughes on Warhol's portraits of celebrities and those who paid for his artistic attention:... > Read more

GRETCHEN ALBRECHT; BETWEEN GESTURE AND GEOMETRY by LUKE SMYTHE

3 Jan 2024  |  4 min read

For a couple of years in the mid Seventies I taught at Penrose High School – now One Tree Hill College. The school boasted a fine collection of New Zealand art, purchased through the agency of its new and innovative principal Murray Print (who'd started there in '69) and the art department lead by Wally Crossman. Around the walls and halls were works by Pat Hanly, Ralph Hotere, Colin... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: MIXING UP THE MEDICINE, edited by MARK DAVIDSON and PARKER FISHEL

28 Dec 2023  |  6 min read  |  1

Not many know this, but in 2014 Bob Dylan was the Founding Patron of the University of Auckland’s Creative Thinking Research Fund in New Zealand. And he was honoured as the inaugural Creative Laureate of the University’s Creative Thinking Project. I wasn't sure what this alliance of creative thinkers actually did (there are symposia and academic discussions about creativity) or... > Read more

Tombstone Blues (from Shadow Kingdom)

SONIC LIFE by THURSTON MOORE

13 Dec 2023  |  3 min read

Anyone coming to this memoir by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore to hear his side of the story about the break-up of his marriage to Kim Gordon (after 27 years) will be disappointed. In her book Girl in a Band, SY bassist/writer/singer and artist Gordon laid it all pretty bare: his lengthy affair with Eva Prinz to whom he now married. It was painful to read and the separation of this golden... > Read more

UNRULY; A HISTORY OF ENGLAND'S KINGS AND QUEENS by DAVID MITCHELL

18 Nov 2023  |  5 min read

David Mitchell is an educated man, he went to a private school and read history at Cambridge University but the distraction of the theatre company meant he only graduated with slightly diminished degree. Still, a very smart man. David Mitchell is also very well known from British panel shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie to You. David Mitchell is a comedian . . .  and... > Read more

SPYING AND THE CROWN by RICHARD J ALDRICH and RORY CORMAC

10 Nov 2023  |  3 min read

Anyone who believes the fairy-story that the British monarchy stands apart from politics is advised to skim the contents of this page-turner subtitled “The Secret Relationship Between British Intelligence and the Royals”. It covers considerable and often racy ground from the first Elizabeth to the most recent one through various monarchs and, just as importantly their satellite... > Read more

NORMAN KIRK: REMEMBERED AND RESPECTED (2023): Why man, he did bestride the narrow world like a Colossus

9 Nov 2023  |  5 min read

There is something of a Shakespearean tragedy about the life – and especially the painful, protracted death – of Norman Kirk. Consider the first draft. ACT I The young man of humble stock works manual labour, builds his own house for his family, has a common touch and a warm heart, and is a voracious reader. Through the pages he discovers lands beyond his own,... > Read more

DON BINNEY; FLIGHT PATH by GREGORY O'BRIEN (2023): When art takes flight

6 Nov 2023  |  5 min read

In a 2001 interview the artist/photographer Don Binney – then in his early 60s -- reflected on when he'd come back from time overseas the early Seventies. He saw 1973 as the start of an emotional decline back in a country which no longer sustained him and seemed unwelcoming. The art scene had changed since his golden period in the Sixties and prior to his departure; new galleries... > Read more

URGENT MOMENTS: ART AND SOCIAL CHANGE; THE LETTING SPACE PROJECTS 2010–2020 edited by MARK AMERY, AMBBER CLASON, SOPHIE JERRAM

5 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

Much contemporary art aiming for controversy has a short shelf-life. It takes the grand gesture – Damien Hirst's shark in formaldehyde or diamond-encrusted skull – to really get people talking. Who now remembers the early 90s controversy around Virgin in a Condom – a meagre idea poorly executed - let alone the artist's name? Sex and Catholicism: the clickbait of... > Read more

JENNY McLEOD; A LIFE IN MUSIC. EXTRACT (2023): Drugs, rock'n'roll and Hair

13 Oct 2023  |  3 min read

Elsewhere has reviewed Norman Meehan's thorough and highly readable account of the vibrant life of New Zealand composer Jenny McLeod but here we offer, with permission, an exclusive extract which finds McLeod at a turning point in her life which, to this point, had been largely devoted to classical music and lecturing. Life changed . . .   . The soundtrack accompanying... > Read more

JENNY McLEOD; A LIFE IN MUSIC by NORMAN MEEHAN

9 Oct 2023  |  3 min read

In 1971 when Jenny McLeod was appointed head of the Music School at Victoria University in Wellington she was just 28. She took over from Frederick Page after the obvious successor Douglas Lilburn – whom McLeod respected and admired to the point of a lover's infatuation – had quit, withdrawn to the electronic studio and said he didn't intend to apply for the position. McLeod... > Read more

GOOD AS GOLD; NEW ZEALAND IN THE 1980s by MATT ELLIOTT

8 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

So, if you were there, what was the Eighties to you? Springbok Tour, Queen Street Riot, the Rainbow Warrior bombing, Lange and Douglas? Or Flying Nun, indie rock, the rise of breakdancing and hip-hop? And Poi E? Maybe you were caught up in the adrenalin rush of the stockmarket with the Chase Corporation and Equiticorp, bought up shares and borrowed to do so, long lunches and living... > Read more

LINE IN THE SAND by DEAN YATES

3 Sep 2023  |  3 min read

Dean Yates had seen the worst of this world: at his fingertips are the bodies of women, children and men mutilated by war or environmental tragedy; homes and villages bombed beyond recognition; the industrial might of nations unleashed as murderous military hardware . . . As a Reuters correspondent he covered an accumulation of terrible events: the aftermath of the Bali bombings, three... > Read more

THE WAGER by DAVID GRANN

12 Aug 2023  |  4 min read

A decade ago Peter Fitzsimons published his extraordinary book Batavia, an almost forensically detailed account of a 17th century shipwreck when the Batavia – on its maiden voyage for the Dutch East India Company – hit a reef off the coast of Australia and its survivors struggled onto a small island group, some on separate patches of barren rock and sand. As gripping as... > Read more

1964: EYES OF THE STORM by PAUL McCARTNEY

8 Jul 2023  |  3 min read

When the Beatles flew to balmy Miami from wintry Washington DC in February 1964 they were taking a week-long and well-deserved break. If 1963 had been a year of incremental fame in Britain, 1964 had – even at this early stage – seen a youthquake of hysteria in the US which would ripple around the globe. In early January they had been in London, later in the month they were... > Read more

She Loves You, by Barry Markwick

SONGS FROM THE FRONT LAWN by MATTHEW BANNISTER

29 Jun 2023  |  7 min read  |  1

The Bloomsbury Academic imprint 33⅓ is an interesting and useful series of small format books in which specialist writers undertake the challenge of writing about a specific album. Sometimes these take the form of a close focus on the record in question, at other times writers take a broad, wide and deep analysis of albums as emblematic of something in popular culture or the... > Read more