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Reading Is Bliss

02:27pm 19 Sep 2014 Everywhere in New Zealand this week, talk has turned to the general election. All this palaver has given me the golden opportunity to talk about something related to both the current political climate and books - the surveillance state.

Couch Potato

Emmys a bigger joke than The Big Bang Theory

12:11pm 27 Aug 2014  I used to love the Emmys. Back in the day it was aspirational - all of those award-winning television shows we'd eventually get to see on our screens. Usually about a year or two later.

Blog on the Tracks

The strange, moody week that was

11:06am 19 Sep 2014  The week started with the terrible news around the passing of a legend in New Zealand music . The week will end with a concert by another legend of New Zealand music . Actually, my working week will end with a DJ set of my favourite New Zealand music . It's been a funny ole week - a strange mood hovering. We're getting older all the time. I now have arguments with my son over how many CDs he can take in the car with him. He's not yet three years old. These arguments are already intense. He's more of an omnivore, in terms of musical taste, than I - his favourite band, absolutely, is The Beatles . And one of the best moments of this week was listening to the mono record of Revolver for the first time with Oscar. Much as he loves The Beatles he's more a singles man, not so much into letting the whole album run. But he enjoyed everything from Revolver - in order - when Yellow Submarine arrived (track number six, side one) he applauded as if greeting a concert favourite. (It's acceptable to like this song when you're two years old). He correctly assessed that Tomorrow Never Knows is my favourite track from the album. He points out Paul McCartney in all the Beatles album covers and photos in books. It's hard not to be proud. He also discovered a new favourite band this week. Sleater-Kinney . This too is good news. Even if only for me and not you. In other tales of how weird the week was I found I couldn't mock Phil Rudd of AC/DC's solo album, well, not much anyway... It's perfectly acceptable to have no interest in this album, to avoid it, to not like it, but if you are a fan of what Rudd does behind the kit, if you're a fan of his day-job/main gig and of those sorts of blue-collar, four-four rock-beat, basic bar-room bogan stuff - and surely there's a little streak of that in all of us, well, not all of us, but I don't mind admitting that I have it - then this record really delivers. A nice surprise. I'm not saying it's any kind of wonderful. But it is so much better than the words "solo album by AC/DC's drummer" could ever suggest. That's the sort of tag-line that makes you shoot first and run to the car. But no, Rudd's album while not subtle - it's called Head Job - is a pretty decent rock record. And speaking of decent rock records - that safe 3-star/3.5-star area - Ryan Adams returned with his first record in three years , I like the idea of Ritalin Ryan slowing right down. Again, you do not need to hear this record - you can correctly choose to not hear it or not like it because Ryan Adams fans are a funny bunch and there can't be too many that like every single thing he's done (particularly if they like and listen to other music as well). I haven't been all that interested in a Ryan Adams album for about a decade now but this latest one has a great feel to it, some wonderful guitar sounds, and he's done a better job of stealing song-feels and rewriting them in his own style than those people that sold an "Eminem Esque" tune to The National Party . I also heard my new favourite album of the year this week. Well, I heard it last week - and reviewed it this week. It won't likely end up as the overall favourite of the year but for right now it's the one I keep wanting to play more than any other record and it's a sure-fire bet to be on the (long, long) list of great albums released in 2014. I realised, just this week, that it was seven years ago that I started writing down a few music-related thoughts to prepare for what was going to be a new thing in my life: writing a daily blog. We were on holiday in Fiji, a family wedding, some time out too, and I don't much like beach places - so I sat in a hotel room with DVDs and books and CDs and started tentatively planning the first half-dozen or so posts for what was to then become Blog On The Tracks . The green tick had been granted, the blog was to start when I returned from my holiday. It's been that way ever since, I've never ever felt like I've had time off or any actual holiday. Since those first weeks in late September/early October of 2007 I haven't had anything planned in advance. I wake up and write something down first thing in the morning. Or I scratch out something before I go to bed. It used to be that I stayed up way too late. Now I get up far too early. One day I won't do this. And I'll miss it. I'll wonder how I'll go about my day - for much as these are throwaway pieces and only ever 'blogs' never essays or articles or reviews or news stories - they do define a big part of my life now, of who I am and how my day is structured. (Oh god, that's depressing.) The music I listen to and review - it's all grist to the mill. I wonder how each next post might arrive if I'm really not feeling it. And if it's ever okay to repeat myself. I listen to music and wonder, as I'm playing it, if I can wring another blog from it, or if I've already mentioned Prince far too often and whether I should write lovingly about King Curtis only to be told "never heard of him" by someone without Google. Or taste. One day I won't be doing this. And I'll miss it. I'll wonder how I'll go about my day. And then I won't.

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