Hard News by Russell Brown


A bit tacky, no?

TV3 has an election website. Well and good. But what made them think it was an appropriate idea to charge candidates to have a profile page on the site? Yep: it's set up like one of those creepy Zoominfo-style sites where you're expected to come along and claim the profile created for you -- and, in this case, pay $299 for the privilege:

Buying a Candidate Page means you can edit the page we’ve made for you. You will receive your private individual login to decision08.co.nz so you can communicate your message to Voters via this nationally promoted website.

Edit your page using the themes we’ve already made for you (see below) or delete them and create your own.

Yeah, right. Because no one's ever heard of WordPress or YouTube. Honestly, I can't understand why 3 would pursue such a tawdry approach. You're either an editorial site or you're not. And if you are, best stick to that.

Meanwhile, Winston Peters' new blog is, like, random:

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It has allowed the creation of that phenomenon known as “blogging”.

In Wellington teams of people spend their spare time filling cyberspace with their opinions.

Now we can’t be too critical because we have set up an election blog site called www.winstonpeters.com – and there is no doubt some useful social function is being served.

But it really is like some kind of version of talkback radio. They would probably benefit more from going to cooking classes!

Even the newspapers have their blog sites and their opinion sites.

It’s getting hard to take them seriously these days because half the journalists are bloggers and many of the bloggers are journalists.

So let me give one a piece of advice that has served me well for a long time now – never believe what you see in the media.

Most of these people have an aversion to the truth unless it fits their agenda.

It is sad really, because so many people rely on them for information.

Most media a trying to play a game of join the dots but without any dots, and they wonder why they get the picture all wrong.

You see we in New Zealand have a recycled merry go round when it comes to those in the media.

Look at your Sunday newspapers – all the commentators are failed TVNZ managers, political aspirants or journalists who had been moved on from other organisations.

This is why you can never take them seriously.


This week's Media7 focused on the media dimension of the Olympics, and whether the right stories are being covered. The panel is the eternally dissident Nick Wang, Auckland University's Dr Jian Yang, and Scoop's Selwyn Manning. It's available from TVNZ ondemand, as Windows Media clips, the podcast and on our YouTube channel

At GayNZ, Craig Young advises on "what curious gay male Olympic spectators and tourists might see if they want to visit alternative Beijing"; while Kitten Power picks her Girls of the Games (#1 is fully-out US footballer Natasha Kai -- " we defy any lesbian not to fall for that stomach!") and Matt Akersten stuffs his Boys of Beijing with swimmers and divers.

The local iTunes Store now sells ($24.99 for recent releases, $12.99 or $9.99 for catalogue titles) or rents ($6.99) movies. The sales chart is presently topped by the witless 2007 action flick Shooter. It will have the so-easy-to-spend-your-money iTunes smoothness, but I'm not yet moved to go and buy the cable that lets me plug my iPod into the TV. Apart from anything else, I already have a very good device for playing digital video into my television: the Playstation 3.


Having squeezed into a very crowded King's Arms last night, I can tell you that Ladyhawke, pop sensation of the moment, is very much a work in progress. If the sheer buzz made it worth going out -- lots of excitable young women and more than a couple of Pip Brown look-alikes -- I'm not sure if the band itself was the stuff of a $40 cover charge. Brown has a bunch of catchy pop-rock choruses, but the whole thing is only barely realised. You feel like it could be huge, but it needs time and money spent on it.

Meanwhile, on the real revival tip, you might want to book the babysitter for the last weekend of November, for that is when the Headless Chickens will be playing in Auckland.


This has been a sad week for a few of us, with the passing of my friend Michael Scott. I was more messed up than I thought I'd be by his funeral on Tuesday, and going off and making a TV show wasn't the easiest thing to do afterwards.

There's a sort of homecoming story about Michael's last few months that it's not really my place to tell, but it ended with love and family. My admiration for Maxine, Ella and Syd for seeing him through is boundless. I am also minded to think about being sure to see plenty of your friends while you have them around.

I recall quite well the first time I met him: he was full of morphine and chalk, and happy as you like, in the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases, having come off the plane from India almost immobilised with giardia. We'd trudged through sleet and taken multiple buses to see him.

That was 1988, and Michael was delighted to arrive in London to find that disco was back, in the form of house music. If there was anything Michael Scott taught me it's that it's okay for a man to let his love show for big girly disco (or, as he called it "botty music"). One of the tunes he liked most that year wasn't strictly disco, but it does make me think of him: it's Electribe 101's dark, slinky classic, 'Talking With Myself'.

I'll leave this MP3 file of the original 12" mix of that song up on the site for a day or two in Michael's memory. If your legitimate affection for it moves you to a purchase, there's a whole compilation of remixes available on eMusic. If not, well, just play this one and think of Mykl.

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