This past year I missed more gigs I wanted to see than I ever have – but at leaset I saw the Clean – they are always amazing.
I really enjoyed Canadian songwriter Robbie Robertson’s song with the Crazy Horse Singers providing the backing music to Leonard Peltier’s message from prison. I remember the siege and ensuing military full scale assault at Pine Ridge Reservation, the deliberate attempt by the American media to discredit the American Indian Movement, the illegal extradition by the USA of Leonard Peltier from Canada, but I had almost forgotten about him until I was reminded by this:
Robbie Robertson and the Crazy Horse Singers – Never Forget
Done, with pleasure. Thanks for all your hard work Russell (& people-behind-the-scenes-of-Russell). This is an incredibly useful forum, and hopefully I will have more time to spend here next year.
Hey Alex. As you can see, I'm not the only Flying Nun fan here.
To those who find my New Zealand piece inadequate, I plead guilty. I wrote it back in 1995, and had never been to New Zealand. (I've still never been, alas, though I've spent a few hours in the Auckland airport.) What I knew about the scene came from scattered interviews, zines, a book or two, bits and pieces of things I'd picked up here and there. But the whole concept, as I say at the beginning, was to try imagine a place from afar, through its music.
Nice save. Although that's what you said all those years ago, and as I said back then, when you cautiously talked me down and directed me to your website devoted to Flying Nun music... I believe I graciously and magnanimously said something like "Uh, well, um... lucky for you, you have good taste in music and seem reasonably, um, informed and educated...
Russell Brown, the patron of this e-salon and Flying Nun fixture featured in my Favourite Flying Nun Story, and you may be interested in some of the other stories.
By the way, I live the picture of Bea-The-Cat-Disapproving of Alex Mincek's Pendulum V and I had a look around for the Booth cartoon of a cat in the foreground, whiskers frazzled and ears askew, an amateur orchestra practicing in the background and someone saying "Just then, and the end of Ravel's Bolero, I thought I heard a scream" but I couldn't find it. Bea looks less displeased than Booth's cartoon cat, but cats are very censorious creatures at the best of times.
we all like and what we like, and I never took to Flying Nun and her progeny.
I had the opposite reaction to the Flying Nun stuff when I first came here (in the late 80s). I absolutely loved the sound - it was alway being described as "weird" or "droning" here but it sounded sweet and melodious compared to much of the music coming out of the Pacific Northwest at the time, where a more hardcore sound had long since been the ascendent form.
The bands I first heard from the Flying Nun label - Straitjacket Fits, The Clean, Bailterspace, Tall Dwarfs, The Chills - struck me as incredibly original and a terrific combination of the big guitar noise feedback sound ("gronk" as a friend of mine in Canada says) and often sweet sounding vocals delivering wry, frank and often very funny lyrics that often summed up exactly what was in my own head. I absolutely loved the music, and still do. When I met the people behind the label - Roger & crew - and the musicians - I felt - after months of feeling tremendously isolated and homesick in New Zealand - like I had found members of my own species.
In the early 90s I read an article by Alex Ross in the New Yorker, praising Stephen Malkmus's band Pavement to the skies without mentioning Malkmus's own love of Flying Nun music and his frequent mentions of their influence on his own songwriting, which struck me as an egregious oversight.
Correctly guessing that he was either a Yale or a Harvard alumnus, and knowing these insolent ivy league types all know each other in the USA, I wrote to a fellow Flying Nun fan and ivy leaguer I knew and demanded "DO YOU KNOW THIS PINHEAD??" and demanded his email address if he had it, so I could challenge him to a figurative literary duel over the Flying Nun musicians' honour.
Sure enough, they'd known one another at Harvard, but as it turned out Alex Ross was as big as fan of the New Zealand music scene as we were, and he wrote me a patient, soothing and apologetic letter explaining himself and the Pavement article, and directed me to his site devoted to NZ music.
Alex Ross - New Zealand Music
I’ve never visited Christchurch, except passing through the airport, but I’ve met quite a few wonderful people from there, and there has not been a day since the February quake that I have not thought about how difficult it must be for everyone who is still there, as well as those who have relocated. Some of the most heartening stories of kindness and courage have come from the worst aspects of that quake, and it’s good to hear the rebuild is underway.
The film looks terrific – I wish I could come to the taping.
I agree about the discouraging effects of competition, Dyan. The problem is that it seems to work for the very top performers, driving them to extremes. The various human prowess records would possibly be lower if they hadn't been driven by competition.
In my discussions with SPARC people I was talking specifically about pre and primary school age children, and my point was that it was useless to teach any sport or expect any competition before the basic physical skills of strength, flexibility, proprioception and endurance were mastered first.
And some motor skills which are required to play sports, are damaging if taught "properly" to subjects too young. There is a reason tiny kids pitch with that feeble looking side-arm flick.
Dyan, please don't take this the wrong way, but I don't really see anything in that letter that hasn't been talked about for a fairly long time in public health, nutrition etc. circles already. I agree with a lot of what you describe - and obviously don't have the context that you do for this discussion - but given that these ideas do have pretty widespread currency I think it's a pretty harsh call to accuse SPARC of stealing them. What were the specific actions they proposed/pursued that you had issues with?
My communications, meetings and discussions with SPARC date back to 2003, and my problem with them is that they met with me repeatedly, asked me to explain things in ever greater detail, saying they were going to pay me for contract work, that I would be perfect for this committee or that planning group. As I've said to Islander, there is no specific group of words I can object to them using, but the fact that them met with me repeatedly and ask provide the details of many proposed projects. I can't prove they used any of the ideas I discussed with them, or provided to them in great detail. Right down to staffing and costing, and how progress could be monitored.
An article like this one :
http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/kids-just-wanna-have-fun/ doesn't contain any specific passages from my correspondence, but I would like to know if SPARC ever published anything about these issues before I sent them my some of my ideas and handed over even more - after meetings where payment for my work was offered. But never given.
I am so sorry about that double post. Was correcting typos...
Paul Moon’s reputation among Maori scholars is……variable, I am told.
You ain't just whistlin' Dixie, as they say. He's a loon, but he's fun to laugh at.
He seems to think cannibalism is incredibly bad. Really, is it that much worse than other indignities committed against dead enemies in other cultures? Did he not read any history? What was done to live people by slavers was a whole lot worse. They bred their own children - or contracted overseers to breed theirs - to sell into slavery, for profit. It doesn't come much worse than that, and it makes cannibalism seem pretty civilised in comparison.
Here's a song by a guy who's married to a school friend of mine:
This is Black Man Clay, singing about his Great-great-grandfather: