Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Listen to the Music

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  • robbery,

    number of typos,
    ....but his 20 page essay

    ...the picture painted and the actual events.

    ...It'd be great to have 15 versions.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Churton's writing is valid for his personal perspective as much as anyone else's but hi 20 page essay in mysterex on the gladstone was practically unreadable and bore little resemblance to the actual happening at the venue.

    was that him? It was unsigned as i recall...no I agree, it was rambling and almost incoherent.

    having lived through a number of these periods its sometimes hard to recognise the picture painted an the actual events.

    That's the way I feel about some of the stuff in Mysterex relating to Auckland in the late 70s-mid 80s period.

    But for all that, I'm extraordinarily glad that someone is documenting it. I've lived through or watched a few sub-scenes in Auckland that have produced some fairly interesting people and been rather influential in their own way and they've kinda slipped off the radar, perhaps lost forever.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Wain,

    Now, I'm happy to admit to technological shortcomings as much as the next perp but for some reason when I go to the so-called download page for this thread to get the free LEDs song, I instead get a streamed song... which is nothing like a download.

    Russell, when you say "give away a free track" do you actually mean
    "come and have a listen to this song" (just like on any MySpace page)
    or do you mean "download this song here for free"...

    I'm running a new Macbook, surely there's no issue with the technology?

    I don't personally care about listening to something once in a fixed location: I'd rather take it away and listen at my own leisure, with or without my computer and the interweb, you know?

    Merely asking for clarification...

    Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    you have to control click (or right button click) on the link and save the file to your hard drive richard, otherwise it opens the file in the browser, its not streaming it but its not saving it either.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Now, I'm happy to admit to technological shortcomings as much as the next perp but for some reason when I go to the so-called download page for this thread to get the free LEDs song, I instead get a streamed song... which is nothing like a download.

    You need to control-click (or right-click if you have a mouse) on the link and choose to download the file. Then you can drag it onto your iTunes icon.

    What you're seeing is QuickTime playing the MP3 as a movie, within Safari. I'd strongly recommend upgrading to QuickTime Pro, which will let you save all such movies, export in a variety of formats, etc.

    It's a $55 download from the Apple Store.

    You also want to get the free Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime. Installing these should make QuickTime Player your default application for all Windows Media files (.wma, .wmv, .asx). Used in conjunction with QuickTime Pro they let you do things like saving streams.

    And, finally, another handy bunch of codecs: Perian, which adds .avi, .flv and lots more support to QuickTime.

    Russell, when you say "give away a free track" do you actually mean
    "come and have a listen to this song" (just like on any MySpace page)
    or do you mean "download this song here for free"...

    The latter!

    I don't personally care about listening to something once in a fixed location: I'd rather take it away and listen at my own leisure, with or without my computer and the interweb, you know?

    Of course, and that's very much the point of making it downloadable as an MP3. You're letting people enjoy the song the way that suits them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    or you could just download the best media player for mac and not worry with all that other carry on.

    VLC player

    thank you LEDS for the present.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    or you could just download the best media player for mac and not worry with all that other carry on.

    VLC player

    Nah, I'm gonna disagree. I use VLC for the odd job, but tooled-up QuickTime provides, I think, better performance and far more options for saving, exporting, etc.

    The NewsMash section of Media7 is principally compiled by me using those tools, plus VideoHub and a couple of different video downloader add-ons for Firefox. All free or cheap software.

    The funny thing is that the AVID suite we actually use to compile the show isn't nearly as flexible and turns to sludge trying to import most file formats. I now do rough edits and export the clips to DV-PAL and drive them over to Images for the others to work their gentle editing magic.

    God. Video geekery.

    thank you LEDS for the present.

    And bloody good on you for being the first to say so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    God. Video geekery.

    We need to learn about it some how. Heres good.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Nah, I'm gonna disagree. I use VLC for the odd job, but tooled-up QuickTime provides, I think, better performance and far more options for saving, exporting, etc.

    quick time is crap for playing avi files, its codec this and codec that, where as vlc just plays them without discussion, and its free,
    quicktime let itself down badly for a while there and there doesn't seem to be much point to go back to it as a viewer if its going to require all these additional bits to make it work with the variety of files that will get thrown at it in the course of the internet.
    sure it has professional options but if you're jut playing something, why fork out the cash?

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I've always found if there's a video file that my computer won't handle in any other player (as in, the computer isn't powerful enough), VLC is the one player that will. Simple, small, and it works.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    quick time is crap for playing avi files, its codec this and codec that, where as vlc just plays them without discussion, and its free,

    It's my experience that, enhanced with a single set of free codecs, Perian (which has the sweetest install process you could hope for), QuickTime does a better job of most files (including .flv Flash files), and offers many features VLC doesn't. Yes, just downloading VLC is the easiest solution, but I don't think that means QT is "crap".

    With Windows Media files, it's not even close: if you're on a Mac you need the Flip4Mac components. VLC's WM support is pretty flaky, and it doesn't offer a plug-in, so you can't use it to play WM files in a browser.

    Of course, all this is with respect to Mac OS. QuickTime for Windows is a rather different beast.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I picked up "Still" from Slow Boat on the weekend. I love it! I'm amazed at how Marcus and Helen's vocals can go from being sweet to menacing, often in the same song.

    I consider myself lucky to have seen the LEDs live twice this year (another bonus of living in Wellington). But I hope they make it up to Auckland soon.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I consider myself lucky to have seen the LEDs live twice this year (another bonus of living in Wellington). But I hope they make it up to Auckland soon.

    Blair promises to in the PA Radio interview.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    but I don't think that means QT is "crap".

    let their game down for a while.
    they may have fixed it now but in browsers and media players, you snooze, you lose users.
    right when avi was the best delivery medium for download videos quicktime did a shit job on it and vlc plugged the gap politely and with no fuss. I don't see a reason to go back right now, and especially not when you have to pay for the bonus quicktime features.
    I have free quicktime and flip for mac and when I think about opening a media file I never think do it in quicktime, purely because of the couple of years quicktime didn't deliver.
    see how fickle the using public is?
    Why doesnt quicktime have all the goodies built in?why add codecs. VLC doesn't ask you to add anything, it just plays.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Why doesnt quicktime have all the goodies built in?why add codecs.

    It does have a lot of codecs built-in, and Perian and Flip4Mac are listed on the official MacOS X Software site, but Apple apparently doesn't want to bless .avi or .divx to the point of bundling them. Maybe it's a Steve thing.

    VLC has certainly shown the way though. It's an open-source project and they just do what the people need done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    yeah, definitely reeks of policy from mac.
    avi files are good looking and small and universal, I'm hesitant to deal with any new mac only file they want to throw at us. mp4 etc. yawn.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Maybe it's a Steve thing.

    I resemble that remark ;-)
    Anypoo, media Player Classic does all that and is tiny. You can get it with CCCP (Combined-Community-Codec-Pack)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    speaking of nz music books I had a quick browse through the revised John Dix's book with lost photos and Gareth Shute's book on nz music history 87-2007.

    got to say I was disappointing with Shute's book. the mentions of things south of wellington were patchy. He discussed a certain chch label that had substantial success with many a chch band but felt it necessary to say that that label had its biggest success with an auckland band, which just wasn't true as testified by the 485 copies out of a 500 pressing sitting under someone's bed as opposed to many other acts that sold out its pressing. I guess it's hard to get the various scene perspectives when one is resident in only one locale, but still, the "most successful act is an Auckland one" comment is just plain bullshit.

    That said it's cool he did write about the music scene but one wonders where he got his info from. It also struck me as a pretty boring read.

    Dix's updated issue struck me with the bad quality of the printing, especially some photos. maybe he did lose the originals and used some back up photo copies.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Wade Churton,

    Okily-dokily, sorry to be so late replying, but let's sort a couple of things out. First of all, we'll do 'Robbery'.

    "..the post punk genre is particularly weirdly served with a couple of prolific independent scribes busily re writing history in the way they want to see it, gleefully omitting detail they don't favor and focusing on the minute and unimportant making, and the sad thing is that may well be the history we are left with because it is all that is written.. ..It'd be great to have 15 versions."

    That's exactly what I thought before I started writing. Hey people, if you're unhappy with the way I handled your era, why don't you go ahead and write an account yourself? I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

    "Churton's writing is valid for his personal perspective as much as anyone else's but his 20 page essay in mysterex on the gladstone was practically unreadable and bore little resemblance to the actual happening at the venue."

    Er, I was there, and that's what happened. Straight reportage. Sorry if it doesn't tally with your recollections. Also, the essay about the Glad was a strictly personal account, not an in-depth analysis of the hotel and its historical place in Kiwi music. Andrew put in 'the Gladstone years' as a subtitle, presumably for his own editorial reasons. The piece really only concerned one year, 1980-81. Oh, and 'unreadable'? C'mon, you needed bigger print?

    "..loser nights with 10 people were painted as the happening events, and the actual big nights were forgotten."

    The Androidss and the Gordons had the biggest nights of the lot and they're in there. Ditto the Newmatics, Instigators, Clean, etc.

    And now to Simon Grigg.

    "..I've not read Wade Churton's book but those who have, and who were, in Auckland anyway, a part of the era, don't regard it highly."

    Hey, you read it, you get to criticise it. No skin off my nose. Sure it's flawed; if I was to do it again I'd interview more fans, women etc. but until someone else pulls finger, it's all we got.

    Thing is, you're not going to get a one-stop-shop book about Kiwi music, because it's so diverse. Dix didn't have a clue about anything post-1976, and David Eggleton just interviewed his typewriter (and neither of those guys included bibliographies. Seems like Schmidt and I pretty much wrote Eggleton's 'punk' section for him). Okay, so I've done a lot of writing about the post-punk scene, but no-one has a monopoly on it. The more, the merrier, in fact. What I'd like to read is a coherent overview of the 1990s; everyone who's tried so far (including Gareth Shute) didn't get much further than 'here's some names, here's some genres, here's some dates. Am I a book yet?'
    Cheers.

    Since Sep 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Hey, you read it, you get to criticise it. No skin off my nose. Sure it's flawed; if I was to do it again I'd interview more fans, women etc. but until someone else pulls finger, it's all we got.

    fair call, but that's why I didn't go into the various criticisms I heard, which very loosely from folks I know who were a very big part of the Auckland punk and post punk vista were more along the lines of Christchurch was done well (and I don't know that scene) but Auckland wasn't (and I do have a reasonable handle on that scene, more than most). But without reading it I'm not making a judgement beyond that.

    And to be fair Dix did nail a fair part of the post 76 Auckland thing pretty well actually. He was there, talking to people from about 1980 ( I first met him that year I think) onwards and he caught the spirit.

    As an aside, I tried to buy the book a few times in Auckland without luck...is it still in print?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Wade Churton,

    Yeah, 'Have You Checked The Children' is still out of print, unfortunately. I started rewriting and updating it a year or so ago, but other, more immediate projects jumped in. It's still on the cards, but it'd be nice to throw some real money and time at it. The original was written on personal favours and a scratch and scrape budget (and I bound most of them myself), so it would be good to include more photos, interviews, etc. Ah, soon come, mon.
    Okay then, fair enough it was maybe a little harsh to say that Dix 'didn't have a clue' after 1976, but then to me it seemed he handled punk and post-punk with a slight sense of bemusement and even condescension, like rock had already had its essential history and these wacky kids were just mucking around in its wake. His woeful update of 'Stranded In Paradise' a few years ago showed this up even more plainly (The hip-hop section. Brrrrr). With 'Have You Checked The Children' I wanted to read something which took the era seriously, not some collection of tall tales and true told in the manner of a joker spinning yarns while the billy boils.
    As to the Auckland punk-postpunk scene; well, big city, big subject. The era attracted a lot of people which orthodox rock had tended to sideline; women, Maori, gays, novice musicians etc., and based on its character as a city, Auckland could probably handle a stand-alone project.
    Come to think of it, one way to get a Kiwi rock book together which might satisfy most people would be to farm out specific projects (or cast for contributions), and print the work of a selection of authors. Somebody's bound to get it right in amongst a whole bunch of them.

    Since Sep 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    hey wade

    unreadable as in difficult to get through. the layout didn't help but it was a fairly impenetrable tomb.

    yes you did highlight the gordons androidss but my point was no to criticise you writings but to highlight that because so few people do write about this stuff and those that do invariable put a personal slant on it, mainly because their reward is personal, not financial then we have a version of history that is personal that becomes the official story.

    This also relates to the blog scene. If only a handful of blogs write on something and their is nothing to challenge their personal view then that has an effect on how the public view things, and its not something they should have to apologise for, but as open minded reasoning people we should keep it in mind more.

    You're quite open in claiming your work as a 'strictly personal account' and make no applogy for that, nor should you, but others for lack of alternative works to read have no choice but to absorb some of it as the official record. That's not a criticism of you and your writing, its an observation of the New Zealand predicament.

    I'm personally pleased that people like you exist, I wish there were more of you all writing indepth works on their area of interest. It was an interesting time, and I'm sure there are interesting insights into us as a people to be gained from those times,

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

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