It is a very sad day in New Zealand music as this is the day Peter Gutteridge died.
At the end of this week we are going to have an election and to me this is meaningless. The news is dominated by this paltry and underhanded matter and I try not to take too much notice, but one night recently I switched on the television by mistake. I thought I was actually searching in my pockets for my cellphone and I happened to push a knob on some kind of remote. Every home has about ten of these irksome machines by now and it’s difficult to keep track of them. I have a couple stashed in my socks.
But this one remote is big and has caused me untold trouble in the past. I feel as if I should keep it in a cage in the backyard and wish I could. By now I have televisions all around the house and I’m not getting any better. I’m getting older and tired of sad news.
So, on this particular night and even before I knew it, loud, obnoxious political voices and deathly white cathode rays were blasting all over the room. I became immediately addicted as if I had taken that one deadly shot of Heroin and I became completely drawn up in Mike Hosking’s hair. It is difficult to find one’s way out of that kind of shit. It leans to the right like this is all okay and everything, a cheeky grin, a nuance this way and that. I put on a sailor’s suit and hat.
After a half an hour of television I became hysterically angry and wished I was Elvis and could blast the set with a handgun. I was desperate for a way out but I was addicted to the despair that was being broadcast all over the room. I wanted to run away to Cornish, New Hampshire and switch the world off just like Jerry Salinger did, but I also wanted to see how everything ended. I think we all do but peeking at the despair drives us crazy.
John Logie Baird’s famous broadcasting distraction from planting corn in the fields and doing some decent work with one’s hands had overtaken my life again. I was engulfed and ropeable and fit to be tied. Every five minutes there was an advertisement break so that sugar delivery system companies could push their barrow. These advertisements were interspersed with mindless blatherings from pharmaceutical companies for chemicals that could undo the diseases the former created. Then there’d be an advertisement for a nursing home that might charge the elderly and vulnerable $250 a day. Stock options were on the rise again. Greed had arrived on a big horse.
Every single day of my life I wonder whatever happened to my dear New Zealand. We used to call it ‘God’s Own Country’ and if it still is then God has mortgaged it to the hilt.
I would have legged it outside to cut the power lines to shut off that television if I could but there are political party flags for Internet-Mana on two houses immediately across the road and electioneering signs all up and down the street. Colin Craig’s eyes follow me wherever I go! I would cut all those signs down but it’s just not cool to be Hone Heke in this day and age and besides, I believe in construction rather than destruction and beauty over bush pigs. I’ve known a few.
On the television news this same evening there were items about beheadings in Syria/Iraq, Russian rockets in the Ukraine, Ebola in Africa, a gang fight with machetes in South Auckland, an Asteroid the size of the Empire State Building which barely missed earth and is bound to come around again and destroy us all unless the North Koreans get us first and an athlete in South Africa squeezing off four rounds from a 9mm into a locked toilet door so that he was bound to kill something.
I think that if Reeva Steenkamp had been a coloured man then the item would not have made the news at all, but she was blond and beautiful. That is the point of difference. If it was a coloured man behind that door then it would have made some television reality policing show and Oscar Pistorius would have been painted as a hero. The coloured man, if he had lived, would have gotten twenty five years on Robbin Island. If he dared complain to the superintendent about his wet cell then he would have been told to sleep standing up.
I think Oscar Pistorius to be a self centred prat (a ‘narcissist’ in today’s language) and I also think the judge has fallen in love with him and when he is sentenced I don’t think he will go to jail. In this life it’s all about social order and prestige and how good a lawyer you can get. This has been well proven by O.J. Simpson and many others.
So, this is the day Peter Gutteridge died. I didn’t know him well at all and in fact I barely knew him. I saw him at gigs over the years, bought the records (Pure is a work of genius), and watched youtube clips countless times. I always feel for my friends from Dunedin who make some of the truest music in the world. I believe we are all ‘joined’.
But, I am good friends with a good friend of Peter Gutteridge’s and about a month ago I had coffee with them both here in Auckland. Peter was just on his way to America. Then I heard lots of reports and I stayed hooked in to what was happening.
It’s a very sad day and every so often something frighteningly ‘real’ comes down the pike and scares the shit out of us all. I have another really good friend who lives in Nelson. What she says is quite simple. She says: “People are all we have”.
I believe that to be the truth.
A Tinker’s Cuss started life on the Phantom Billstickers Facebook page – it’s a new feature here at Off The Tracks and we’re repeating the earliest posts before carrying on with new words from Jim Wilson.