I still go to the video store. And yes, it’s still called a Video Store. We rent/borrow DVDs – we do this because it’s convenient. The store (the last of its kind still standing in our town) is just down the road/just around the corner. And though I never meant for this to happen – I’ve hooked my 7yo son right into the world of DVDs. He watches loads of movies, collects them, keeps a list of what he’s seen and has a watchlist of what he plans to get to. And yes, it’s all very leaf/tree and not falling so far away – but I don’t think I forced this life onto him. Read More
Old friends, and
came for tea. A lovely
meal that Katy cooked.
Lots of wine and happy
laughs, and talking craft
beer and wine and song
and one of the new friends
wanted to know how to
medicate gout – and that’s
a specialist topic of mine
(and in the wheelhouse of
middle-aged dinner party
And then the war-stories
of how some of us met,
and I was able to say
to one of the old friends
that when she first met me
I was busy setting the coffee-table
Flash forward several years and now
I am charged with looking after her
It’s a funny old world – and that seems
good enough for me as far as
redemption stories go.
There was no wine left this
morning. (Which is probably good).
My big toe seemed to know about it
before I did. It was up while I was
still trying to sleep.
But I chuckled myself awake remembering
the new friend saying over and again, about
someone I don’t really know, “She’s fucking
lazy mate. And I should
know. I’m from England”.
Each week I share a conversation that I’ve had with a musician or writer or artist, filmmaker, actor – a “creative” (and I loathe that term). We talk about who they are and how they’ve become that person, the steps they take, the art they make, the world they occupy – and whatever is on their mind.
It all began on this day four years ago I shared a conversation with Darren Watson.
Actually, I had self-consciously pre-ambled that a podcast was coming just before that. But it was the DW episode that got things started. I was nervous. I said ‘yeah, yep, yet, yip, ya, yay, hmm, yes’ to almost everything he said, forgetting this wasn’t some print-interview to later create. Read More »
He probably didn’t really
mean it – so don’t demean him,
don’t be mean to him –
he has a job that matters. His
life, career – his wife (if she’s
still speaking to him) will all
be in tatters
Which is so unfair. One slip
in a life of doing good, of
earning a lot – of working
so hard, (sometimes hardly
working he got so damn good)
and now far too much noise.
He paid the fine, so all should
be fine, he’s done his time – what
with the worry and the dent to
his reputation. This is a high six-figure
guy. A made guy. The kind of guy
who can make (or break) others. He
has every right to continue, he’s done
far more good than harm. He won’t
alarm anyone – not anymore – he will
just continue to do the work. (So damn
good at it!) To be in control. To rebuild
his name and move on from the shame. As
he surely deserves.
A name dragged through the
mud – good god, how cruel. Doesn’t
anyone know how hard it
has been for him.
People should know.
He deserves the right
to tell them.
It’s time for his side of the story.
You know, because, it takes two.
[1931 – 2019]
I knew Nana Pam
my whole life.
But I really got to know her
the time she threw
my cousin Ritchie out of his house.
He was about four or five. And he
told her he hated everyone and wanted
to run away.
Nana Pam didn’t believe in bluffs.
So she packed enough stuff to keep
him going and put it in a suitcase and had
him at the front door before he could say
sorry or even change his mind.
She sent him out onto the road and told him
to keep walking.
He ended up in Ireland – and so couldn’t
be here today.
I told my mum this story again just
recently and she explained that nana pam
– her mother – had done the same thing
Clearly it was a trick worth hanging on to.
Nana Pam once asked me what my
favourite music was – and I said
The next time I saw her she handed me
an album – “What’s this, I asked?”
“It’s your Deep Purple” she said with a smile.
The album said “Romantic Piano” and it wasn’t
the heavy metal band I adored. It was
some horrid piano ballad called Deep Purple,
it had been written by some hack called Peter De Rose
but it was the thought that counted.
I’ve kept that record. I still have it.
She would have got it from one of the second-hand
junk stores. It was probably 50c – but I reckon she’d
have talked the guy down to 4 or 5 bucks…
My grandad bob once asked me what I was listening
to. And I told him it was a Jimi Hendrix tape.
He asked me my favourite song.
I told him I was enjoying the song Manic Depression,
it was about how Jimi Hendrix loved his guitar
so much and he was sad that he could not actually make
love to it.
Grandad bob was snoring by the time I finished
this story – and Nana Pam’s eyes flashed.
“Why didn’t he just take the strings off” she
said. And then laughed like Precious Pup.
Nana Pam definitely had
favourites. And for the purposes of
this story I was most definitely one
She’s not here to argue with that anyway.
She had a cheeky smile. A wicked sense
of humour – there was gas in her laughter.
And naughtiness on her mind.
She bought me a wedding present that
was salt and pepper shakers with a light in the
Good, so you could see where you were
Deckchairs at the beach.
Laughing at other people’s misfortune
or mistakes. But not too much, just enough.
Keeping secrets. But not forever.
Showing a toughness that
sometimes bordered on cruelty, she was so fiercely
And I’m sure she had a bad side too.
you are the kindest
person i know your
mind is sharp your
heart is big you
better than i’ll
you make me
proud every day just
to think of you
your spirit the
guide for our
captain of the ship.
you are the
world to me you
opened your arms,
your mind and
you have the mind
of an artist.
and your soul
is your art.
He was 44 when he was diagnosed. Column Cancel. Dormant at first. But after 2nd, 3rd and 545th readings the growth was now thriving. It was too late. Yes, he would ask to have it removed. His editor would assist. Digitally. And though that process was painless, shift cells left, shift cells right, the column would never work in the same way. No longer could it separate the healthy from the shit. His body of work was over. The cancel would now define him as he shaved his headlines…
The only thing
and a journalism degree
Allenby Terrace steps.
was at least one
other hurdle – but
those steps started
to bite. And rather
Best to blame them,
since the real reason
escapes me still
(a good reason to
still be writing, funnily
Every time I head
down that hill
I think, still,
of being sat right
outside the journalism
my phoney – but all
too real – Lucky Strikes.
(Just take a deep breath.
Round the corner to play
pool and have a beer.
Taking the easy road
that got a lot
(That alone would
have been a deep
years straight after,
ensuring the ‘free’ stayed
advancing up the pay-scale
but getting recognised for a
name or face in the paper.
And then speaking to
uni students, Media Studies,
The question that was always
hardest to answer at the end
of any talk.
(how to chart my mistake)
“So you’re a journalist/writer/reviewer…blogger…
How did this happen? Like for example,
what steps did you take?”
I’m usually on RNZ once a month to have a chat about some new albums. But now and then I present features on the show too.
I followed that up with a chat about Ringo Starr and played some of his best Beatles drum bits and a few of his solo singing hits. That was fun too.
But then, I had the chance to talk about Prince. What to say about one of my favourite artists of all time? In just 40 minutes. I could talk for, erm, 17 Days about Prince. So I decided to look at some of the side-projects, collaborations and songs he’s written for other people.
And then it was to covers you didn’t know were covers.
Bob Dylan is never far from my mind, my heart, my stereo – if he’s not on the turntable, he’s in my thoughts in some way or another, often informing the music that I’ve chosen to listen to. It’s that deep. He is one of the great musical forces for me – and surely the most influential songwriter of the 20th Century, certainly in his liberation of the ugly singer being allowed to create and own beautiful songs; I think he’s a beautiful singer too of course, but such has been his influence. Next week we’ll see the new Netflix doco (if we want to) about the Rolling Thunder Revue. There’s a new boxset of rehearsals and performances too and there’s already a great deal of official and bootlegged recordings from this famous time. So I thought why not celebrate his Royal Bobness with some Rolling Thunder Favourites of mine in this special edition of a Five For Friday. Right-o then…
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to ask anyone
“What are you
going through right
(What are you dealing with?
What’s shaped you?
Why are you feeling like you’re currently
How has life – to this point – impacted
Are you okay?
Are you happy?
If not, why? What can I do?
Is anyone in your life that can help you?
The question to
ask anyone is
“What are you going
through right now?”
But we tell
too busy for that,
too worried at
plunging below the
We tell ourselves
they’ll be okay,
without ever really
What we are really
saying is we don’t
have the time, won’t
make the time, couldn’t
possibly allow ourselves
in deep – in case it
hurts. In case it’s (too)