Writing in Elsewhere

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

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HELLFIRE: EVELYN WAUGH AND THE HYPOCRITES CLUB by DAVID FLEMING

17 Jun 2024  |  3 min read

Those lucky enough to go to university in the Sixties or Seventies can reflect on halcyon days when a bursary or scholarship made life easier, there were plenty of casual jobs available in holidays and you could have a relaxed attitude all year until a few weeks out from the final exams. The economic slide, changes in the education system in schools and on-going internal assessment at uni... > Read more

DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM by SERJ TANKAIN

14 Jun 2024  |  2 min read

Those who only recognise the name Serj Tankian as a singer in the explosive, socio-political heavy rock band System of a Down may gravitate to this “memoir (of sorts)” because they want to hear tales of touring, decadence and the rock'n'roll life style. Others might avoid it for the same reason. Both parties will be surprised by this fascinating book because it largely... > Read more

Chop Suey!, by System of a Down

WHEN WE WAS FAB: INSIDE THE BEATLES AUSTRALASIAN TOUR 1964 by ANDY NEILL and GREG ARMSTRONG

3 Jun 2024  |  4 min read

The Beatles' story never seems to tire in the telling and retelling. Even small events can be illuminated by new information or previously unheard recordings, once marginal characters can suddenly appear in the spotlight. The debate to name The Fifth Beatle will probably carry on long after we're all gone. The events of the Beatles' 1964 tour in New Zealand – 60 years ago this... > Read more

Yeah Yeah We Love Them All, by Dinah Lee (1964)

JAMES by PERCIVAL EVERETT

29 May 2024  |  2 min read

If this provocative, award-winning novel were ever adapted for film the temptation for the soundtrack composer would be, when we reach the final significant words, to deliver a swell of emotional, uplifting orchestration as if redemption had been delivered. That would be wrong. This version of aspects of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are seen through the eyes of... > Read more

THE DICTIONARY PEOPLE by SARAH OGILVIE

13 May 2024  |  3 min read

One of the most popular books of the early 2000s – the readers' enthusiasm spread by word-of-mouth – was The Surgeon of Crowthorne by the well-known journalist and travel writer Simon Winchester. Subtitled “A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words”, it was a non-fiction account of the American Dr William Chester Minor who had moved to London in 1871 and, in a... > Read more

THE ACHILLES TRAP by STEVE COLL

27 Apr 2024  |  3 min read

We might as well admit it. No one, not anyone at all, knows what's going on in that sand-trap of chaos we loosely call The Middle East. Not the finest minds in political studies departments or the seasoned diplomats who shuffle between capitals, and certainly not former president Trump's expert Jared Kushner who recently said that “Gaza's waterfront property could be very... > Read more

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE; THE END OF THE BEATLES by PETER BROWN AND STEVEN GAINES

19 Apr 2024  |  2 min read

When Albert Goldman published his scurrilous, scum-sifting biography The Lives of John Lennon in 1988, the late Beatle's friends and acquaintances circled the wagons and vehemently denounced the book which, among other things, described Yoko Ono as a controlling junkie witch and suggested Lennon might have had a hand in what killed his friend Stuart Sutcliffe who died in Hamburg. Goldman in... > Read more

DEAR COLIN, DEAR RON edited by PETER SIMPSON

15 Apr 2024  |  1 min read

Peter Simpson's meticulous research into the life and work of Colin McCahon has already given us the highly readable and insightful surveys There is Only One Direction and Is This The Promised Land? That there's more to be said is no surprise because frequently Simpson – recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in 2017, even before those magisterial books... > Read more

JOHNNY ROTTEN, WRITING (1994): Punk picks up phlegm and pen

14 Apr 2024  |  1 min read  |  1

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

TIGERS OF THE MIND by MICHAEL MORRISSEY

6 Mar 2024  |  1 min read

Some writers pace themselves for the sprints or middle-distance in short story collections or maybe a novel or two. Others, like Michael Morrissey, are long-distance runners. Morrissey's new collection of poems Tigers of the Mind is his 14th and stands alongside a novel, two novellas and a couple of shorter fictions, scripts for two stage plays, a work of non-fiction and his memoir... > Read more

THE DEEP DARK HOLE/THE FAINT GLIMMER OF HOPE by PAUL McLANEY

4 Mar 2024  |  2 min read

The essence of most practical philosophies is simplicity, be it Zen, “love they neighbour” or “be kind”. Reducing complex ideas and emotions down to manageable levels can often be difficult, but the truth in simplicity is most often useful and memorable. This small book by the prolific musician Paul McLaney is a beautifully presented example of big things... > Read more

Go Well, by Paul McLaney

POLITICS ON THE EDGE by RORY STEWART

29 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

You don't need to be remotely interested in, or knowledgeable about, the inner workings of Britain's Conservative Party to be gripped by this “memoir from within” during the last decade or so and that revolving door of prime ministers. But this story is so compelling in its detail, humour and observation that you will be struck very quickly by how dysfunctional, venal,... > Read more

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