Hard News by Russell Brown


The People's Choice

Public Address won the NetGuide People's Choice Award for Best Blog last night; which as I pointed out when I went up to accept it, was all the more remarkable for the fact that I forgot to suggest that you might want to vote for us until two days before voting closed.

Thanks to everyone who did vote for us, and, in general, to everyone who reads this site (and, of course, the lovely people who write it). The role of our readers in what happens here has become even more important since we launched Public Address System, and I am genuinely grateful to everyone who turns up here. Special big ups to CactusLab, and congratulations to the other two finalists, Kiwiblog and Radio Chick.

It's not lost on me that we have the advantage of scale in an award that rests on public votes. David Farrar and I had a brief chat earlier this week about the possibility of a judged New Zealand blog awards that could recognise excellence in a range of blog genres. I think that would be a great thing.

Meanwhile, what about Bain and Blair, eh? Apart from noting that I have for some time believed that the police case against David Bain and Tony Blair's case for himself were both flawed, I don't have much to say this morning. But you, of course, should feel free to offer comment.

Neil Finn has exercised a right of reply to his critics, some of whom, in the case of the herald's Your Views column, have been nasty and ignorant. I can certainly understand that he wouldn't want to be "a nice little icon who just shakes hands and smiles at the camera" - who would? - but I wish he'd get the chip off his shoulder. From his column in the Herald's Time Out yesterday:

My comments about the PM stem from the 2005 Music Awards which resembled a Labour Party Conference, complete with red balloons. According to organisers, Helen, rather than being invited to speak, had insisted on addressing the assembly. Like other years, she undoubtedly enjoyed being cheered by a grateful music industry while Don Brash sitting in the front row was insulted from the stage. Despite this - and to his credit - Don stayed till the end of the night, unlike Helen who left soon after the applause had died down. Many people felt uncomfortable and I left feeling a bit sickened. I don't believe it's healthy that musicians and politicians should be so closely aligned.

I was there too. There can have been few people present who weren't offended on Dr Brash's behalf by the sniping from the stage - which, it should be noted, came principally from two people who aren't part of the music industry.

The National Party contingent did hang around for the after-party, and good on them for that - as I recall, Georgina Te Heu Heu in particular seemed to be enjoying herself. Helen Clark did leave after speaking: perhaps she had urgent business (she was, after all, Prime Minister), or had another function to attend. Or maybe she simply headed home for a rest.

But what Neil misses is that Clark spent an hour before the ceremony mingling, talking to kids and posing for countless mobile phone snaps. I didn't even spot a DPS minder. That was pretty cool.

She then went on to give The Music Speech, which differed from previous years' versions most notably in a mention of diversity. We were not long out of an election campaign in which the idea of the "mainstream" had played a prominent and not particularly edifying role. When Dave Dobbyn subsequently namechecked Labour on receipt of his award, he wasn't talking about New Zealand on Air funding schemes. Neil clearly didn't feel as warmly towards Clark as many other people did, but the response was genuine, and it's patronising to suggest it was entirely to do with the arts piggybank.

Dave, of course, closed proceedings that year with a massed version of 'Welcome Home', featuring someone who would hardly be the star turn at a "Labour Party Conference": Ahmed Zaoui. Did Neil think that wasn't "healthy" either?

It's not that Neil doesn't have a point in some respects. It just a shame he has to be so bloody mean-spirited about making it.

Anyway, many thanks to Will de Cleene for making the Kittah that had to be made:

Heh. Much more lolcat/kittah here.

PS: I was a bit late getting the podcasts up this week, but there's new Public Address Radio for your ears today: An interview with the excellent Ardal O'Hanlon, a profile of Craft 2.0 and mo' Craig.

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