Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: A good read

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  • Sacha,

    I'm interested in the bigger picture. Seems to be more expected these days that doing wrong things does not bring any consequences.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Matt,

    The Gang of Four re-recording was mostly about business, I think. This from Simon Reynolds' review in Slate in 2005:

    Yet the motivation for Gang of Four rerecording their songs also has a mundane, pragmatic aspect. "Covering" their own songs is a canny way of honoring and reactivating their legacy while ensuring that any benefits accrue to them. A straightforward repackaging of the old recordings, such as a compilation or box set, would only serve to enrich EMI, their original record company in the United Kingdom. And that's something Gang of Four didn't want to happen. "We have never made any money at all from record sales with EMI and still have unrecouped advances," King wrote in an e-mail. "So we didn't want them to benefit as they did nothing to support us." As for their original American record company, Warner Bros., King claims that they deleted Entertainment!—easily one of the 50 most powerful and influential rock albums of all time—in 1993 and only rereleased it in 2005 in response to Gang of Four's having become a fashionable reference point. Rerecording the songs—something that contracts typically allow artists to do after 20 years—puts Gang of Four in a strong bargaining position for negotiating a new deal with superior royalty rates. "It is our way of reasserting ownership of our own material," says King.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not crediting blogs reflects the derisive official attitudes our newspapers seem to have about them. Doesn't stop them being sources when it suits, of course.

    Indeed -- and the delicious irony is that among the much sneered at bloggers, it's considered rather poor form to fail to not only attribute but provide a link to the full article you're quoting from. (The only exception, at least in my case, is when I'm attacking something particularly vile and don't wish to directly reward the offender with traffic. Even then, attribution goes without saying.)

    I actually think it's quite a cool thing to do - plays sometimes appear in several different published versions (not just Shakespeare but current stuff), and poets are known to rework their greatest hits now and then.

    One of the more (in)famous cases I can think of is Auden re-writing or refusing to allow to be re-printed some of his best know poems, because they were "dishonest" in the sense that they expressed views that he had never held -- or would have been morally reprehensible if he had -- but had used only because he felt they would be rhetorically effective. But even then, a counter-argument could be made that the eariler versions were always available and since Auden's death, they've been finding their way back into print.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I wish I could read the Listener article - I'm sure it's the usual delay until it comes online.

    Not to sound like an apologist - because I do think sources should be attributed - but I'm sure universities in general would not hold a piece of fiction to the same standard as an academic essay/publication. And nor should the standard be exactly the same. For example, I don't think that an author should have to give footnotes or citations throughout a piece of work.

    On the other hand, they shouldn't do this either. And as a writer of fiction, surely it isn't that difficult to paraphrase source material in your own language (unless quotes are used for a specific reason), and then have some acknowledgements in the preface or afterword.

    Well, it's a shame. I do think Auckland Uni's response is weak; even if the standard is less stringent for fictional works, plagiarism is still less than cool.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    @Tracey - send me your email address and I will send the article to you

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    The Gang of Four re-recording was mostly about business, I think. This from Simon Reynolds' review in Slate in 2005:

    Oh, thanks for clearing that up. It reminds me of the byzantine contract the guys behind Spinal Tap have- apparently they have to perform or record "in character" every three years or else they lose their ownership rights to Warners Universal. Which is strangely fitting, really. I could imagine that being discussed in the film after the infamous "None More Black" scene.

    Not sure why it reminds me, but I was thinking also of Paul McCartney's Let it Be...Naked as well in regards to that, which only proved what Lennon felt all along- Spector or no Spector, the songs weren't up to scratch. Then again, Lennon always felt that "Help" (the song) was badly recorded, so he's not always the best judge of his own material, either.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    will send the article

    For the purposes of review of course.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not to sound like an apologist - because I do think sources should be attributed - but I'm sure universities in general would not hold a piece of fiction to the same standard as an academic essay/publication

    Hum, you may well be right. But any institution that does really shouldn't be offering courses like Auckland's 'Masters in Creative Writing'. I believe we have a published author of some distinction around these parts, and I'd love to know whether she thinks her intellectual property is somehow less worthy of respect that that of her academic critics.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Speaking of The Listener, here's one for "Life In New Zealand," if anyone can be bothered:

    The Crown expects to pay $777 million to leaky home victims in the next two decades, lumbering the country with colossal bills.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I must admit my favourite headline ever was from the ODT: "Police stoned during IRA raid"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    universities in general would not hold a piece of fiction to the same standard as an academic essay/publication

    However, I imagine the expected accuracy of an historical novel featuring real people is higher than for a general work of fiction.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Lennon always felt that "Help" (the song) was badly recorded, so he's not always the best judge of his own material, either

    Oh, he was totally objective about everything, all the time. (Snort.) Even when he asked George Martin to make his voice sound 'like an orange'.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    aw, c'mon Danielle- you're sounding a little like a grapefruit :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    However, I imagine the expected accuracy of an historical novel featuring real people is higher than for a general work of fiction.

    Possibly Ihimaera backed himself into a corner by insisting on historical accuracy - witness his close reliance on historical accounts of major historical events, some of which he pretty much rewrites line by line in his own words. (NB these were not included in my original list of borrowings, since they were rewritten, but they do borrow the structure of the originals).

    On the other hand, the degree of "accuracy" fluctuates throughout the book. He rather handily makes Te Umuroa fluent in English, gives him a wife and child he didn't have (according to the record), and sends him places he would not have gone, including to the signing of the Treaty.

    I can't speak to the accuracy of the Tasmanian section, but I'm told (by a new Tasmanian friend) that Te Umuroa could not have met Truganini, the famous Tasmanian aborigine, let alone had a conversation with her. Still, it's a nice thing to imagine.

    And nor should the standard be exactly the same. For example, I don't think that an author should have to give footnotes or citations throughout a piece of work.

    I see what you're saying, Tracy, but I'm not sure that the standard of "not incorporating other people's work without acknowledgement" would be any different whether the work is fiction or non-fiction.

    The few recent literary examples that come close to this include the kerfuffle over Ian McEwan's Atonement, where he came out swinging and said, fairly plausibly, that a) he had acknowledged the book and b) it was a few passages, borrowed for the sake of strict authenticity. And then there's Kaavya Viswanathan, who borrowed phrases and words from several different sources. She fared less well.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    And then there's Kaavya Viswanathan, who borrowed phrases and words from several different sources. She fared less well.

    Indeed. There is something almost biblical about the term "pulped", is there not?

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm not sure that the standard of "not incorporating other people's work without acknowledgement" would be any different whether the work is fiction or non-fiction.

    More to the point, if you have written three pages of acknowledgements then you have set your own standard to uphold.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Oh, and David H asked the radical question,

    Is Ihimaera's new novel -- plagiarism questions aside -- a good book?

    All three drafts of my review waffled a bit on this point, because it's undeniably a heartfelt and ambitious novel, and the story it seeks to tell is a truly fascinating one. And I still have a soft spot for early Witi, being a bit of a sentimentalist myself.

    But Nicholas Reid's review in the SST is pretty much spot on.

    (That World War I howler is one of several anachronisms that an editor should really have spotted.)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    While we're complaining about the newspapers ...

    I have vented in the direction of the Herald on Sunday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But Nicholas Reid's review in the SST is pretty much spot on.

    Indeed -- "they are early 21st-century characters dressed in 19th-century drag" is a criticism that can be levelled at way too many historical novels.

    I much prefer where Hillary Mantel drew the line with Wolf Hall: If she wrote he thought, you could safely assume she was making it up since Thomas Cromwell didn't exactly live in the age of tell-all memoirs and confessional diaries. If she wrote he did, then it was going to be as close to the historical record as she could make it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "It is 1917 now, and World War One still alarms us."

    Dear God. Apart from the fact it was still happening, presumably until WWII people referred to it as the Great War, yes? That really does seem like a terrible failure.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    For once, it's hard to disagree with Paul Holmes.
    And on a complete tangent, if anyone's interested in reading more about the remarkable Truganini, mentioned upthread by Jolisa, David Quammen's wonderful book The Song of the Dodo has quite good coverage of her life story.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Yet again, Holmes manages to turn a story into something about him. Cheeky whitie.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Dear God. Apart from the fact it was still happening, presumably until WWII people referred to it as the Great War, yes?

    Everyone except the psychics and the cynics, of course.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Firstly, Quammen's "The Song of the Dodo" is a book everybody should read. And, if you can, buy another copy & give it away to someone you love.

    Secondly; while there *can* be accidental plaigerism of phrases (and because I am extremely widely read, I dread that possibility) there is NO WAY a writer can accidentally, through oversight, unintentionally
    pop in .4% of other people's work into a large (520pp plus)book.

    I despise plaigerists.
    I despise selfserving publishers who wont acknowledge their editorial failures.
    And I especially despise a university which somehow doesnt think it matters if one of their glittering own commits plaigerism,

    Bad cess, all.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Dear God. Apart from the fact it was still happening, presumably until WWII people referred to it as the Great War, yes?

    Everyone except the psychics and the cynics, of course.

    I was very fortunate a few years ago to acquire a large book "The First World War- a photographic history" notably published in 1934. Edited/selected by Laurence Stallings with the briefest of captions, cumulatively making an exceptionally strong message of warning about the possibility of a second. No need for psychic powers by then, and he not at all cynical - he doing his worthy best as a pragmatic idealist I'd say, not with head in sand but silently shouting out Warning! Take any chance to get your own copy.

    And agreed on "Song of the Dodo" recommendation while I'm at it.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

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