Hard News by Russell Brown


Our kitchen sink was a logging town

If you watch nothing else on the internet this week, watch Pukemanu. The 1971 logging-town drama – New Zealand's first TV drama series – has been on the list of important works to clear since NZ On Screen launched, and it's great that the first episode has finally been digitised and made available.

There is much to commend it, including performances by Bruno Lawrence and Bill Stalker as bikies, Pat Evison, Geoff Murphy, Ginette McDonald and Ian Watkin, and some rampant pouring of tea. Writer Julian Dickon has written a nice backgrounder for the site.


Graham Beattie reports on yesterday's funeral service for Paul Reynolds. I was there too, and realised as we filed out that this was the first Catholic church service of any description I have ever attended.

As such, it was not only moving but fascinating. The priest seemed cognisant that he wasn't working with a home crowd, and took care to explain what was happening "in our tradition". When he sang a waiata, solo, near the conclusion of the service, it was really quite unexpected and lovely. Indeed, there was a succession of beautiful moments with the human voice: the karanga that rang out to hail the entry of Paul's casket; Merlena Vercoe singing 'Ave Maria' and 'Pie Jesu'; and Kieran Cooney's moving, funny eulogy, which emphasised the bond between Paul and Helen.

Best line from the eulogy, quoting Paul: "The trouble with whisky is that it takes all your best ideas and sells 'em back to you."

And among the many tributes to Paul this week, one from his old friend and former employee, Chad Taylor.


Sometimes, writing is great not because it evokes beauty, but because it conveys squalor. I fished out several of the stories The eXile's Jake Rudnitsky wrote from the Siberian city of Tynda, starting with this one, whose opening line is "A few hours after I got to Tynda, I saw my first live Death Porn story."

There's also this update about the permafrost, the particularly memorable witness to Tynda drug culture and, eventually, Escape from Tynda.

And staying with distasteful delights, thanks to Danielle for the heads up on on Jezebel's 10 Worst Sex Stories We've Ever Heard. Crikey, is all I'll say.


Last night's Media7 discussion of the rise of the digital music download is here. It also includes a look back at the Bastion Point occupation from Sarah Daniell.

Speaking of music and computers, 6 Degrees of Black Sabbath, a truly worthwhile use of CPU cycles. Example: the path from Ol' Dirty Bastard to Brooke Fraser.

If you're missing a little Lawrence Arabia in your life, this amusing and informative New York college radio interview, with live-to-air performance video should be just the ticket.


I have 10 – yes, 10! – double passes to next Thursday's media-themed LATE at the Museum to give away to Public Address readers. Just click Reply and email me with LATE in the subject line. UPDATE: All the tickets are gone, sorry.


And the same evening in Auckland an intriguing and worthwhile project comes to fruition. Artist Sofia Minson has been working one-on-one with a group of autistic children to produce a dozen works that will be auctioned at Without Boundaries – Art for Autism, a cocktail evening at the Stamford Plaza hotel.

Money raised will go toward The Cocoon, the country's first purpose-built autism centre.


And the 2010 NetGuide People's Choice Web Awards are open for voting, and you can vote for publicaddress.net you like.

(NB: Even though I have a bit of a problem with the Blog category in the Qantas Media Awards, I won't be indulging the protest awards being staged by the so-called New Zealand Bloggers Union. I just don't like the way they've gone about it, and the way they've behaved towards my friend Ben Gracewood. Also, I'm not inclined to be judged in any way by Tim Selwyn.)

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