Hard News by Russell Brown


Every scene needs its stars

If you haven't checked out Down to the Wire: The Story of New Zealand's Internet, take some time and have a look. It's a really nicely rendered project, illuminated with interviews with people who were there (I've already popped up here, talking about my discovery of newsgroup culture and internet debate, whose basic principles still apply to what we do here today.)

And in a lovely touch, Flying Nun Records is offering a free download from each year covered by the history. Given that I've spent a bit of energy in the past few years trying to get my music friends and my geeks friends talking to each other, this is particularly pleasing.


Simon Grigg has a nice post on the passing of Tony Peake, who was perhaps the key personality on the Christchurch music scene – punk and what came after.

He was certainly a big influence on me and my friends. We'd bike over after school to the little record shop he ran in the loft of the Canterbury University bookshop, where we'd flick through the latest imports, and he'd smile and play us things we might like. He'd send off our orders for those sweet, rare seven-inch singles.

Tony had the relatively rare gift of being impeccably cool without being a snob. In the comments for Simon's post, Roy Montgomery elegantly notes Tony's "well-modulated androgyny. Young women rhetorically and hopefully telling me 'He’s not really gay…'"

Tony also played music – most notably in the Newtones, with my old schoolmate Mark Brooks, formerly of the Vauxhalls. They did a great version of 'Ballad of a Thin Man'. But I'll remember him more as a musical mentor. And long after I shipped out, he was a friendly voice and a gentle prompter for other kids exploring music.

Every scene needs its stars. And Tony was one of those.


Last night's Media7, featuring an interview with Mediaworks TV CEO Jason Paris is here. It includes nice reports from Jose on the Lyall Bay cinema and the Big Sleepout project.

There's also a full-length version of the interview with former Melbourne Herald-Sun editor Bruce Guthrie about his spectacular falling out with Rupert Murdoch, and the implications of Murdoch's media market dominance.


Former Media7 and Ad Show reporter Simon Pound has been busy for last few months producing this year's Smokefree Rock Quest for TV. They've put a lot into it, and if you want to see tomorrow's stars first, this is the place.

The first episode has screened and is available on demand here. The next one, and all the others, will air on C4 at 5.30pm on Saturdays.


Some tunes …

Cee-Lo Green's exuberant pop-soul tune 'Fuck You' has been a surprise internet smash this year. Inevitably, there have been cover versions and reworks, but perhaps the best of them – and it comes with the Danielle seal of approval – is the Le Castle Vania remix. Dance to this tonight.

(That's a Hype Machine link. If you didn't know already, clicking on the "Read full post" link will almost always take you to a blog hosting the MP3 for download.)

The Xx's debut album has taken on a whole new life lately with a swarm of remixes – some of which are great. Of note: Islands (Andre Pipipi Baile Funk Remix) .

Also deep in international remix action lately: The Naked & Famous's local hit 'Young Blood'.

The band also got the thumbs-up from The Guardian this week, although the story's claim that 'Young Blood' "recently became the first song by a Kiwi band to reach No 1 in their home country for 20 years" is hilariously wrong.


The Laneway 2011 lineup has been announced, along with a date -- January 31 -- and a new venue – the refurbished Aotea Square.

It's s studiedly indie bill and everyone will have their favourites, but the one I'm seriously amped about is Holy Fuck (popular music is so sweary these days). Not familiar with them? Here's a live video of them performing 'Red Lights' at this year's South By Southwest. It is awesome:

But I'm also quite excited to see that Headless Chickens predecessors Children's Hour are this year's reunion act. Here's the Chris Knox-directed 'Caroline's Dream' from NZ On Screen:

I lived in the house in Grafton where this video was made. They were crazy, crazy times.


EXTRA SPECIAL FRIDAY BONUS!!! The official new video for Holy Fuck's 'Red Lights'. Fucking cats play the fucking song and it is fucking genius:

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