Posts by Craig Ranapia

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  • Hard News: Bowie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What I love about it is that it’s all of us getting to talk about how art moved and made us. We don’t do that often enough.

    We're also really shit at saying what artists mean to us when they're still around to care. I really hope Bowie knew how much he's loved and respected, not only by his musical peers, but by people whose lives he was the soundtrack to -- and bloody grim and lonely ones a lot of them sounded like. (As a sidebar, I'm very pleasantly surprised Bowie managed to keep his cancer secret for eighteen months and sincere kudos to everyone who respected his choice and privacy.

    Tonight I've been reading and hearing endless variations on "I was the fat kid, the smalltown queer, the girl with the mousy hair, and David Bowie told me it was going to be OK. I believed him. And he was right."

    I just can't articulate what Bowie means to me because he's both too big a presence who's been around in one way or another my whole life, and far too intimate and tightly wound around so many moments. But it's nice to know I'm not alone in that either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Music: The year the…,

    Phil Spector may be a full-service douche canoe, but come on... Darlene Love is the Queen of Christmas. Let's not argue about it. :)


    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books,

    So let’s take time out from pre-Christmas stress and bitching and Judith Collins’ smug face, and share stories of our favourite murder books.

    Here goes, with standard warning that there may be spoilers at the links.

    The Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith). Pop culture is awash in sociopaths who get away with it (I blame Hannibal Lecter myself), but accept no substitutes. Tom Ripley's murderous brand of upward social mobility still has no peers.

    Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s There's another Highsmith novel here (and not one of her best IMO), but this is a splendid two volume LIbrary of America set. Worth finding for Margaret Millar's Beast in View alone.

    The Hunter Another all too tiresome crime writing trope is the cold-eyed anti-hero on a roaring rampage of revenge, but it was never done better than in Donald E. Westlake's Parker series of which this is the first.

    Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. If you're in the mood for something a little more genteel, here's my favourite Sayers -- and the most atypical. There's no murder, but while the central mystery is fascinating and fairly worked out, the real strength of the novel is Vane's own struggles with her relationship with Lord Peter.

    I'll probably think of more a bit later...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This is an odd co-incidence, because I was just thinking that of my four 'favourite books', P&P is the only one that isn't in some way a mystery.

    Since you mentioned P.D. James, if you track down a copy of her 'diary as an oblique memoir' Time To Be In Earnest, it includes the text of a fascinating speech she gave to the AGM of the Jane Austen Society considering Emma as a mystery.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Gobshite vs Adele, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The recent 'Adele at the BBC' show was good too. I like the way she doesn't worry about rough edges in her vocal performance. She's real.

    As I think I said to you on Twitter at the time, 'Hello' isn't my musical cup of tea but I can see what she's trying to do and she does it well. And sorry, Noel, but at least when Adele has an album or tour to promote she doesn't go straight to the "go trolling for some pathetic but attention-getting celebrity feud" play. "Not because I have any sort of agenda," my arse.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Judith Collins and the…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think it was the implication of prison rape (“with a cellmate”) that was really beyond the pale. That’s a long way below the standard of character we should expect in a minister of the Crown.

    It's below what we should expect of anyone. Ever. This crap is textbook rape culture and it just has to stop.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Waitara and the perils of…,

    I look forward to the Taxpayer Onion's strident denunciation of public money wasted by local government attempts to spite-fuck (and financially cripple) critics though the courts. Courts, needs I add, that already have significant backlogs.

    Won't hold my breath waiting, though.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Police Ten 7 State, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …and frankly the more disparate eyes that parse their data, the more chance of other patterns or conclusions that can be drawn from a jealously guarded pool of information.

    This is the really bewildering thing. You'd think the Police of all people would welcome sound research informing evidence-based policy that works. OK, will it contain things that are hard to hear or politically embarrassing? Damn near certainly, but this is where you put on your blue serge grown-up pants, deal with it and get on with your job.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Police Ten 7 State,

    One other thing, I rag on the Herald a lot, and it richly deserves ever drop of bile so I'm very happy to extend well-earned kudos to them for publishing Jarrod Gilbert's column at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Police Ten 7 State, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Sorry, I missed the bit where Labour has the power to instruct the Commissioner to stop censoring academics. Could you explain it to me, please?

    If I ever say anything so absurd, please feel free to redeem this voucher for one free slap. But being the cynical cuss that I am, the most shocking things about Jarrod's column is that he wrote it in the first place and the Herald published it. It's naive in the extreme to think the Police don't have a profound and long-standing culture of hostility to scrutiny and a hell of a lot of enablers that didn't magically appear after the 2008 election.

    Very few journos will ever say so on the record, for obvious reasons, but reality shows aren't the only place where Police co-operation comes with strings attached. Try being effective on the courts or crime rounds when you're tagged as having an "attitude problem" towards the Police, and if your calls are being answered at all its long after your more agreeable colleagues have their copy handed to them. There's a constant and real tension there, and while a certain amount of it is just part of the job (everyone's trying to game you for favorable coverage, so deal with it) I don't think it's acceptable from the Police any more than you do.

    And I also have a certain degree of sympathy for any poor bastard (or bitch) who ends up with the Police portfolio, not matter what tint the government is. Just try suggesting the Police aren't flawless paragons when you've got a Greg O'Connor lurking in the wings to smear even the mildest critic as a crim-coddling cop-hater. It would take real political courage to do that with any consistency, and I'm not seeing a lot of that anywhere. (Count this as one of the few occasions I'd be happy to be proved wrong.)

    As I said before, I agree with you that the Police Commissioner should be in the Minister's office getting his knuckles rapped. And not for the first time. But I don't think even beginning to wind back a toxic Police culture will be that easy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12293 posts Report Reply

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