Writing in Elsewhere

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

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WIRED FOR SOUND: THE STEBBING HISTORY OF NEW ZEALAND MUSIC by GRANT GILLANDERS and ROBYN WELSH

8 Nov 2019  |  4 min read

Some lives encompass multitudes. Take that of Eldred Stebbing, a man in the vanguard of many aspects of the New Zealand recording and music industry, who died a decade ago next month at age 88. He was born when air travel was in its infancy, movies were silent, there were market gardens around Avondale where he lived and Auckland's population was about... > Read more

MOPHEAD by SELINA TUSITALA MARSH

23 Oct 2019  |  1 min read  |  1

Auckland academic, former New Zealand Poet Laureate, award-magnet Selina Tusitala March – the first person of Pacific Island descent to get a PhD in English at the University of Auckland – has appeared a couple of times previously at Elsewhere with her poems Fast Talking PI and Guys Like Gaugin. But this self-illustrated book takes her in another direction, back through a... > Read more

COLIN McCAHON: THERE IS ONLY ONE DIRECTION VOL. I 1919 - 1959 by PETER SIMPSON

11 Oct 2019  |  6 min read

There is an easy and perhaps even amusing heresy to commit in New Zealand art: simply say aloud at a swanky cocktail party you think Colin McCahon is over-rated. When the sound of foreheads being slapped and sharp intakes of breath have faded you can drill down: his palette was limited (no cheery sky-blue available, Colin?); his representational figures are child-like in execution;... > Read more

NAILING DOWN THE SAINT by CRAIG CLIFF

25 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

At the narrative axis of this digressive second novel by Wellington writer Craig Cliff is one of the more idiosyncratic saints in the Catholic catalogue: the 17thcentury Joseph of Copertino who, according to contemporary accounts, levitated when in a state of grace or ecstasy. It is this aerial Joseph – patron saint of aviators but not the brightest of lights – which expat Kiwi... > Read more

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