Posts by David Herkt

  • Speaker: Planet History: Taking Tea with…,

    That is wonderful - it is pitched perfect, tonally. And it is informative. I learned things and I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you, Rupert. And thanks, Russell, for reposting it.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Speaker: 2017: My mother and her hundred…,

    And thank you... It is strange how the prickling of tears sometimes isn't related to sadness or bereavement but just to wonder and appreciation... I think I needed to read that today, Hilary, at this time in the world...

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    Exactly. And enough is enough. I have been noticing 'robot news' for a while now, and its willing human servitors (by that you can practically add every media outlet in the world now too, with their stories by click-bait for click-bait). Over the last year, I have found myself checking stories that appear apparently genuine but when double-checked, even just clicking on other things on the alleged sites, one finds something seriously wrong... Indeed, it is getting to the stage you could almost premise a new paid media outlet on the fact that it hosts no fake news or click-bait... I'm also disturbed by the complete insulation those pesky little algorithms give is where literally we can see nothing other than what we might agree with or like - I've been a TV researcher for an occupation and I need to find diversity of views. I'd hate to think what the Google algorithms make of my search history but in the short term it is only too obvious... You can nearly see how your searches change the results and the associated ads immediately... It is one reason I still like hard-copy magazines and newspapers. One gets a comparatively unmediated chunk of the world, as opposed to just the stuff you can be bothered clicking. An eye across a page is a swifter means of information-gathering than any number of clicks. But, yes, despairingly, the little bubbles we live in... and it was only too clear watching American voters in the recent election.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Hard News: Meth houses and stigma,

    I echo your argument and your final paragraph, Russell. it is a subject that has driven me insane for years since I first saw a private testing agency at an HIV/AIDS and illicit drug conference in Melbourne in the early 1980s.

    It has always been a contentious subject with very poorly drawn guidelines.There have been no acknowledgement of false positives, for instance. Let alone the whole practice of actually taking the samples themselves.

    And the media by and large deserve contempt for their swallowing of a particular business-line without considering the evidence on which it is based. It has been trotted out without examination with increasing frequency over the last decade. They have created a climate of unjustified fear from which private agencies have profited.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Notes & Queries: Breaking Down the Walls…, in reply to Daphne Lawless,

    There is a lot about Olivia Records which I found extraordinarily interesting. A women’s collective founds a record label in 1973 to make and market women’s music, and makes its decisions on an ideological basis… There was a lot about its marketing, the numbers of singles and albums sold, and the artists (and rejections – Yoko Ono? Melissa Etheridge?) and content. That said, I don’t think you’d say that it went into the Sandy Stone incident in great detail. And I didn’t know (my ignorance) that the collective eventually morphed into the successful Olivia Lesbian Cruises and Holidays company which still flourishes…

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Notes & Queries: Breaking Down the Walls…,

    So much was omitted – even given the length of the piece and Martin’s generosity in sharing his knowledge. Joe Meek is a personal favourite of mine. The Honeycombs’ ‘Have I the Right’ is one of the great songs and the full stompy beat is exactly that – Meek had the band out on the miced-up stairs and loading dock of his recording studio jumping on his command.The depth and texture of the beat owes everything to this. Meek is a much under-estimated man. And ‘Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache’ is one of those books that you just wonder how come we never had it before…

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Hard News: Helen,

    We have lost someone fine. I am distressed for many reasons, not the least because New Zealand now lacks part of the human compass that we all require to orientate our actions and opinions. If the word ‘staunch’ can be really be accurately used, it could have been used to describe her. As a nation, we elevate sports-people, political hacks, media front-people, instant celebrities, and business-scalpers to great status, but to me, Helen Kelly, with her focus on workers and the stuff of daily life was always far more worth celebrating. And, no, she was never bitter or earnest in my small experience in proximity to her as a human being, where she was a woman of intelligence, humour, charm, and strength. I liked her smile. I always liked seeing her interviewed on TV because I knew that she would be presenting, very cogently, an alternative version of the narratives that so often trap us. I will miss her and her work immensely.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Speaker: The Uncomfortable Silence,

    Thanks for writing and sharing what I think of as an important piece. It is so truthful, and it gets to the heart of the matter that most of the people who die from a illicit drug overdose don't want to die... It is simply a matter of existing in a world where products don't come in precisely measured amounts and use of them is relegated to the shadows.

    And the strange thing is that often we approve of methadone treatment for heroin addiction without considering that they are very similar drugs, with very similar consequences, but one is legal and the other illegal. Which, to my mind, tends to indicate the very problem is the illegality. I've seen both methadone and heroin users function socially to a very high-degree. In fact, by definition, being a dependent user existing in an illicit market requires high functioning.

    I hate young lives lost through the consequences of a misguided drug-policy. Life itself is a risk. Crossing roads definitely is. But we should all be able to work together to minimise that risk. And, you are right, it does mean talking about it... and talking about it in an informed and non-prejudicial way...

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    These drug tests drive me insane... They are nearly completely unregulated as you remark. There are few and very debatable guidelines. There is no effective oversight. There is no real mechanism of complaint. There is also no accounting for 'false positives' - no drug-detection test is free from them. The sensitivity of contemporary drug-tests is also such that if you eat a poppy-seed bun your urine will test positive for opiates.Ditto a perfectly legal Panadeine. Cold medications will produce positives for amphetamines. I don't even want to think about residues on walls.... Housing NZ's reaction is simply a punitive device designed for maximum knee-jerk display. The private company testers are laughing all the way to the bank because the tests are not cheap - at least a couple of hundred dollars per test....

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

  • Hard News: Stories: Home,

    Home today is my bed. It is raining in Auckland, a soft fall, a bare hush. I woke this morning feeling sick and, even though I have a whole marching clutter of deadlines tromping through the week like soldiers, I returned to bed after waking.

    I’ve never minded the bedroom I share with my partner. Its not quite a standard bedroom. Firstly one wall, my wall, is dominated by a bookshelf, and the bedside table, on my side is piled with books that today range from all of Joan Didion to Tove Janson’s The Summer Book and a couple of Jacques Lacan’s seminars. The bed is one we purchased in Australia 30-odd years ago. A late 19th Century, or early 20th Century bed with wooden end boards. It came from a charity shop called Kids in Crisis. Its been ours ever since. Its been up and down the East Coast of Australia and crossed the Tasman. I sleep with 7 standard-sized pillows, that prop me or cover my head. At the base of the pile is the pillow I actually rest my head on. Its probably a century old. Once it was covered with ticking but it began to leak so John recovered it which is how I know that the kapok that filled it has turned to a very mouldable dust. I shape it around my head. The other of the pillows are for weight. Ever since I had a brain hemorrhage five or six years ago, I o like weight on my much battered head.

    The walls of the bedroom are perhaps its oddest feature. John collects images of the Virgin Mary. They used to line the entrance passage of our last house in Melbourne. Now in a smaller home, they’ve somehow ended up, Russian style, in the bedroom. I sleep amid fifty or sixty framed images of the Virgin Mary. There is the Madonna of Perpetual Sorrow and an Aboriginal Madonna found in another Melbourne charity shop. There is the Madonna of Gaudalupe, a Madonna from Malta, another from Albania, any number of 19th Century chromoliths, some oddly-framed by their original owners, others embroiders around by nuns. I’m not religious at all, but the first thing I see ever morning is the gold Byzantine Madonna De Perpetuo Succursu with another very dolorous Madonna to its left… It is odd, for an atheist, to spend so much time in these surrounds. Even the bedroom mirror, flanked by Madonnas reflects back another wall of Madonnas. I explain to people that it is my partner’s collection, which it is, but now, somehow reluctantly they are part of me too. What this has done to my psyche, I can only speculate…. They do, however, on a rainy Auckland morning, when I’m feeling sick, return me to some sort of world that offers comforts that maybe aren’t real, but still surround me with an air of sympathetic presence.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 53 posts Report

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