I went to the APRA Silver Scroll Awards the other night.
The lamb was great, in case you're wondering, but I couldn't help but wonder about how much money the event cost compared with the average income of the kiwi musician. With the wine flowing, I suspect I drank the entire royalties cheque for Gramsci's new album, while my table put a big dent in what Shapeshifter will be seeing next financial year. Sorry guys.
As one might expect come election time, the Labour party was heavily represented (Helen Clark, Margaret Wilson, Judith Tizard and Mark Gosche) while National opted for Georgina Te Heu Heu. But then it's not a competition, right? Right?
Helen Clark did her usual ramble about how fantastic the last few years have been for New Zealand music.
Having been to any number of functions where Her Excellency has spoken, these speeches all take much the same form, usually a long list of anyone who's done anything significant in the past few years. In fact, if only she could rap, Helen's addresses would sound almost indistinguishable from most of Scribe's name-check heavy songs.
While Clark spoke of voluntary radio quotas and sales successes, I spied a few musicians sneaking off outside. It dawned on me there's one thing Labour could do next term that would benefit a great number of New Zealand musicians.
I'm not much of a smoker myself, but I've been in enough bands and befriended enough musicians to realise that da mighty 'erb plays a large part in many of their lives. More inspiration than motivation of course; granted it could explain the extraordinary delays in certain Wellington acts releasing their debut album, but it bears consideration.
Why criminalise [in my estimation, at least] half our musos on a daily basis? If Labour is as supportive of the export music industry as it suggests, why support a law that has seen the door to more than one band's overseas travel slammed shut?
I said (or rather slurred) as much to the MP for Auckland Central, but perhaps not surprisingly she was rather non-committal. But with the possibility that Labour and the Greens could form a coalition sans United Future, is decriminalisation (if not legalisation) a likelihood in the next term?
I suspect one of the sticking points might be the continued involvement of Mr Progressive, Jim Anderton. For some reason it appears Labour will stay in bed with Jim even if they don't need to, which is a little odd, although I guess it's a low-cost insurance policy.
The question is, will his rather personal crusade against recreational drugs (nitrous, party pills), teenage drinking and so forth have any real impact on what a Labour government does with regard to marijuana law reform? Is it a bottom line, or just a hobby horse? And with only one seat to offer, is there such a thing as a bottom line for the Jim Anderton Progressive Party?
That's me until after the elections. Merry voting everyone, whichever box you tick.