Hard News by Russell Brown


The roof was on fire

When I flipped open the laptop last night to discover that the Mt Smart Supertop was on fire, I thought "Bloody hell!" When I checked later to discover the tent had been saved, I thought "Bugger!"

The old tent has long been an embarrassment, if a necessary one, given the lack of other options for large venues in Auckland. But the "necessary" part went away with the opening of Vector Arena – except, of course, for the Big Day Out. I imagined last night that Campbell Smith would be on the blower to the ARC, and pricing temporary structures on the internet. Perhaps he was – but, in the event, it looks like the SOST (Same Old Sodding Tent) for the Boiler Room next year. Oh well …

We're due soonish for a first reveal of this summer's lineup. I'd like to see Daft Punk in the tent, please and thank you.

Thanks for all the interest in the Freeview DVR ffunnell project – lots of people told me why they should be writing consumer diaries. But in the end, I had to make a choice. Our diarists will be: Joanna McLeod of Wellington; Pauline Dawson of Dunedin; and Mark Dansey of Auckland. They're being sorted out now.

I do have another little giveaway – another two double passes to Every Object Has A Shadow, the Pitch Black/Pig Out multimedia club show at the Transmission Room tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to this gig, a lot. I'll have to get the names through this afternoon, so if you want to be in, click "Reply" and email me soon with "Pitch Black" in the subject line.


Some video. The Throng TV teaser trailers are great – I'm looking forward to the full reports. But for now, Teaser 1:

And Teaser 2:

I'm told the text on the first frame is a direct quote from the TVNZ internal memo about the show. Good times!

The Gregory Brothers have done an auto-tune special for current MTV it-girl Alexa Chung, with a healthcare Town Hall vibe. Not the best thing they've made, but it does ask the crucial question: Can we fix our problems with keytar solos?

Over at NZ On Screen, the 2002 Flying Nun Records documentary Heavenly Pop Hits is available for viewing in its entirety. Do let your offshore indie friends know.

And also at NZOS: the 1981 Landmarks documentary episode A Land Apart, presented by Kenneth Cumberland (nicely described as "donnish but game" in the notes on the site).

And from the same year, Ep 2 of Damian's This Week in TV History, which laces the obligatory 80s cheese with some still-startling news footage of the protests around Eden Park for the final fixture of the Springbok tour, September 12 (and, usefully, a little bit of the rugby itself).

And, in Beatles week, a genuine oddity. Here's the Fab Four performing the play-within-a-play from A Midsummer Night's Dream on British TV in 1964:


Some music. Thanks to @dubdotdash for the pointer to Music Machines' rediscovery of a long-lost (and actually pretty good) piece of New Zealand electro from 1984: Snap's 'Sidewalk City'.

Over on Real Groove, the extremely swoony Haunted Love from Dunedin have an MP3 and a YouTube clip for you. The YouTube track will be of particular interest to librarians who would like to be thought alluring.

And this week's indie noisemakers I'd never heard of but am now obliged to be all over like a rash: Health. That's the band's name. They're from Los Angeles, but remind me of more than one British band (including 80s psychedelic groovers Loop). And they must be cool, because they've only made 500 copies of their new album.

There's a ton of Health listening this week at Hype Machine, including remixes that sensitive listeners may find easier on the ear than the original work (described here as "like having your brain turned inside out by machines, flushed clean by virgins, and then folded back into place by a handful of very large insects"). The same link includes a weird music video.

There's also a great piece by Nick Hornby for The Observer, on MP3 blogs:

It took me longer than it should have done to work out that the internet is one giant independent record shop – thousands and thousands of cute little independent record shops, anyway – and they don't actually charge you for the music they stock.

The MP3 blogs that stretch for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see, down that stretch of the net that isn't reserved for pornography, are staffed by enthusiastic and likable young men and women who absolutely don't want to rip the artists off: they are always careful to post links to iTunes and Amazon, and the songs they put on their sites are for sampling purposes only. (For the most part, they are encouraged to do so by the artists and their labels, who take out adverts on the more popular sites, and are clearly sending advance copies of albums to the bloggers.)

It works for me. I listen, and then I buy what I like, because owning music is still important to me. If the music I like stays out there in cyberspace, as it does on Spotify, then somehow it cannot indicate character and taste in the same way, although I doubt that younger generations will feel like this, and good luck to them.

Righto, post stuff …

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