Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: My Year in Culture

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  • Tony Parker,

    Living outside the main centres limits one's options but it hasn't been to bad a year.

    Culture: Saw the NZSO for the first time this year. (Lhaws opinion of them just increases his twatcockness). Also made the trip to Welly for the Masters and Brian Brake exhibitions at Te Papa
    Gigs: Neko Case and Calexico earlier in the year did it for me. Playing bass for HB Band Devils' Elbow for a while and supporting the Eastern was fun on a personal level.
    Music: Some new, some old rediscovered-Stornoway, Dylan LeBlanc, Mumford and Sons, Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, Squeeze, Bruce-The Promise, Neil-Le Noise, Phoenix Foundation, The Eastern, Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Peter Case, Lloyd Cole, Campbell and Lanagen.....I could go on. Interestingly I've bought more vinyl this year than I have over the past 10 years probably.
    TV: Premier League Review every Monday night!!!

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Best cultural event I was involved with: The Orcon Great Blend 2010.

    It was pleasant but it wasn’t my big cultural event of the year. (If it’s any consolation, I think it may have been the highlight of quite a few peoples’ years. If oohing and aahing and gasping with awe is your indicator of these things). My cultural high was undoubtedly all the very beautiful, enriching PAS people I experienced loveliness with offline. I spent a great deal of time with PASers this year (and some Tweeters, too) and knew, without doubt, that my life was the better for it. I had lunches, and morning teas, and afternoon teas, and parties, and dinners. I read books written by our illustrious alumni, and looked adoringly on the prodigy of several. PAS has been for me this year the perfect exemplar of the world wide web as community. I would urge those of you who have the chance, to expand your minds, and your social life. Take the plunge and if you get the opportunity to meet some PASers in the "real" world (hate that expression - we are all very real, even if you can't see us), even if it’s just to come to a Great Blend, and say hello to people, take it. You will be richly rewarded.

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

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Tony Parker,

    Lhaws opinion of them just increases his twatcockness

    Gosh, this reminds me I forgot to nominate Lhaws for word of the year. And it was my word! This is terrible.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Watts,

    Musicwise: 'High Violet' by The National. Closely followed by Modern Fables. Julia Deans sings pretty.
    TV-Wise: 'Treme'. Quite comfortably. I'd also wager this was the year that most people started getting around to watching 'The Wire'?
    Movie-Wise: Four Lions. Social Network. Animal Kingdom was similarly choice.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I hate the fact the front row of every ceremony is just a row of aunties squinting at LCD screens.

    Totally. Filming an event removes you from it. You're taking yourself out of it for the purpose of creating a bad film that you'll probably watch a couple of times and forget out it.

    There's more to the event than a moving image - the smells, the energy, the viiibe, man. A video can't capture those, but your memory can. Better to leave the filming up to the pro videographer and allow yourself to be fully present for the event. And it's respectful to the bride and groom.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, I forgot to mention re cultural events for 2011. There will be a Crown Lynn exhibition on at Te Papa. Please go. It would make me so happy. Really.

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

  • Tony Parker,

    Whoa-Barkers has combined with Flying Nun to produce new F Nun T Shirts. They come with a download code for the EP that's the shirt design.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    take me to your Lydia...

    What, the tattooed lady?

    bloody Marxists!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tony Parker,

    I see that it's still Murray Crane driving it, so much the same as what he did with the Little Brother range a few years back, then...
    though, the download is a nice new twist...
    hope the artists are getting their cut...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Nicely put, Jackie. I certainly find more intellectual stimulation on PA than I do with many academics I hang out with.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Scott A, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Why this sudden obsession with "purity" of beer. It doesn't make it taste nice and it won't stop you getting a hangover.


    Ok. Ok. I guess I understand this if your experience with beer has been the awful, chemical, continuous fermentation 'light lager' commercial beer that's dominated the brewing world for the last fifty years (thanks to the invention of the process by a New Zealander, one Morton W. Coutts, who is now being celebrated in marketing by faux 'old-fashioned' packaged but still crap continuously fermented lager).

    For me, that's my cultural marker of 2010, at least down here in Wellington - the explosion in popularity, appreciation and availability of quality craft beers, fine locally produced ales and award winning lagers. With stores and supermarkets (Regional Wines and Spirits, of course, the New World franchise down here, especially Island Bay New World) buying and selling the stuff, trusting the drinkers to experiment with beer that costs $15 a bottle.

    And the bars, Hashigo Zake has just gone gangbusters within the year, The Malthouse has rediscovered its reason for existence, and more and more bars are not only putting local craft ales on their taps and in their fridges, but more and more are using that as a marketing point.

    It's becoming fashionable to drink beer again - good beer - so that's why we're going to see the big breweries try to edge in there with their 'single source' or 'handcrafted' attempts. They'll get it wrong of course. They'll continue to use the continuous fermentation process; they'll continue to focus more on the marketing and the gimmick, and the beer as an alcohol delivery device, rather than putting an effort into making the damn stuff drinkable and enjoyable.

    But, in a year when Croucher's Pilsner; from a small craft brewery in Rotorua, won the top prize for an lager in New Zealand, and those not drinking wine at my work Christmas party were there with bottles from Renaissance, Yeastie Boys, Epic, Green Man, Townshend, etc etc etc... yup. Good times for craft brewing in New Zealand.

    And, back to the reply. One of the great things about craft brewing is the huge ranges of flavours possible by well handled malts, yeasts and hops. Even if you don't touch beer because of that sour, funky, off-taste that comes from the continuous fermentation process, you'll certainly find something in craft ale that you like. From sweet and fluffy Belgian styles, to dark, dense and complex porters. From citrusy hoppy explosions of pale ales, to warm, rich biscuity tones of a well made pilsner (i.e., not by Monteiths). You'll find something you like.

    And best thing of all, without the chemicals and preservatives, you can avoid the worst of the hangover just by staying hydrated.

    Ah, (well-made) beer, is there nothing it can't do?

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Scott A,

    Tautoko, Scott A - there's even some 'light' beers worth the drinking.
    I think we will see ANZ beers traverse the path of some of the wines, - and coffee.
    Excellence will prevail.

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

  • recordari,

    Julia Deans was definitely a highlight. Saw her twice, and both were brilliant, and different. Also, thanks to suggesting New Dialogue for a T-shirt, I won a very cool Dick Frizzell & Don MacGlashan T from Damian, so she rocks my world.

    Other music that I discovered this year includes Warpaint and Deerhunter, both playing Laneways, which should be good.

    Band of Horses were probably one of my top concerts. Paul Weller had moments, but I'm more a Jam fan than his later stuff, so hard to please.

    But of all the musical moments, when Chris Knox came out at Laneways with Shane Carter and played an incredible, albeit brief, and poignant, set, that probably had the greatest impact of any musical moment in 2010. Legend.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I forgot to nominate Lhaws for word of the year.

    Bugger - me too

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Gosh, this reminds me I forgot to nominate Lhaws for word of the year.

    Hush. Laws is like the Erinýes or Voldemort -- a bearer of such dreadful misfortune and malevolence, just speaking his name will bring his pestilential wrath down on us all.

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

  • Bruce Wurr,

    Seen the Fall in the uk a number of times now, and the last few have been really disappointing. It's a novelty when MES treats band and audience alike with disdain the first few times.......but the last few I've seen have been really shambolic from him - the band remain tight under pressure, but he just hasn't seemed to have given a shit really!

    Mind you, the funniest one was May last year, when he had a broken hip....wheeled himself out in a wheelchair, sang 3 songs, hid behind the amp for 3, wheeled himself back into the dressing room and sang a couple more. Someone then gave the mic to the audience and that was it......

    But as with buying records of The Fall, you swear you'll never buy another one and then funnily enough there's that new one in your collection......

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    And best thing of all, without the chemicals and preservatives, you can avoid the worst of the hangover just by staying hydrated.

    What do you mean, without the chemicals & preservatives? If it doesn't have C2H6O (a chemical and a preservative) in it, you can barely call it beer.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew G,

    My albums of the year would be Lisbon by The Walkmen and Edge of the world by Andrew Mckenzie (you can get this one for free at Arch Hill)
    Best gigs: Pixies in Auckland, the Veils in Napier and Flaming Lips in Sydney
    Low light: the passing of Ian Morris who I had got to know quite well since moving here

    Playing bass for HB Band Devils' Elbow for a while

    That was fun. You got to do some home gigs without having to cram into a van and play Timaru and Palmy Nth. Good call.

    Napier • Since Mar 2007 • 53 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Scott A,

    I know. I like beer and I love Hashigo Zake.

    My point was the way DB and Lion have made "pure" their latest buzzword for sub-Heineken tasteless lager. I wondered if they were targetting the crackhead market.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Stupid, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Gary Sullivan – dimmer/ solid gold hell/ jpse ,on the fall at the power station the other night – “best gig I’ve seen in years, a very long time since I’ve felt that from a band”

    Fair enough. It really seemed to me like the worst Fall gig I’ve ever seen. And that’s six – or seven if you count the ballet production of I Am Kurious Oranj (which I actually quite liked).

    Maybe you weren’t close enough? :-P

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 75 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Pixies at the Powerstation was mind blowing. Black Francis coming out to the bar for wine afterwards took said blown mind and turned it into an awkward mush monster.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stupid,

    Maybe you weren’t close enough? :-P

    Quite possibly. I was near the sound desk, and some people around me gradually stopped applauding between songs ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Mind you, the funniest one was May last year, when he had a broken hip....

    guess there were a few Hip Priest jokes then...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Music: 2010's been a good year, I reckon. Still loving Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, The XX, The National's High Violet, Phoenix Foundation's Buffalo, Julia Deans' Modern Fables, Gorillaz' Plastic Beach and Ray la Montagne and the Pariah Dogs' God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise.

    Live gigs: was blown away (again) by Wilco at The Civic, and by The XX at Laneways.

    Movies: Shutter Island and Inception really pushed my buttons. I was strangely moved by the latest Harry Potter installment.

    Theatre and Television: nothing really touched me over the last year. Nothing made me gasp. Hoping for a great 2011. The opening of Q Theatre looks set to be an important and exciting addition to the Auckland Theatre scene.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'm going to throw in a recommendation for 'Kick-Ass' as a decent movie released this year. A potty-mouthed arse-kicking 13-year old. What not to love?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

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