No comment on the Farnham thing though... ;-)
Good call. I was devastated to learn I didn't have the necessary neck hair to grow a decent mullet, so it's still a bit of a sore point for me.
Ah, the tribulations of being twelve...
The funny thing about concerts is that they do tend to make a believer out of you. Maybe it's just that so much of our perceptions of musicians nowadays have little or nothing to do with their music, and so much about everything else.
I remember a truly glorious experience seeing the Smashing Pumpkins play at the Supertop in '97 (IIRC) and going from an interested observer to an obsessive fan over the course of the night. Simply being in that sweaty, rapturous crowd was a wonderful introduction, and the band were (at that stage) still tight, lean and hungry-the light show was straight out of 1970, but it didn't make it any less enjoyable.
A similar experience was (stretching back a bit) John Farnham of all people, playing in a sheep paddock at the Hastings Showgrounds in the late 80's. (His parents lived in Havelock North, so it was a bit of a lark for the Blond Mullet, I think.) The entire town turned out, laying blankets out over the sheep poo, reinforcing the idea that it was The Concert of the Century (remember, Farnsey was a superstar here for a while.) I memorised the words to "You're The Voice" that night, and would get a little bit choked up every time I heard it for years afterwards.
It reminded me in some ways of Brasseye
Jeremy Wells is Christopher Morris. It's basically The Day Today for New Zealanders, but it doesn't usually go to the quite absurd extremes (Cake? Bomb dogs?) and focuses more on the minutae of whatever's flavour of the week in the New Zealand news.
It has its good shows and its bad shows like every straight-faced comedy show, so it's worth trying a few episodes (particularly from the first season) on for size.
(The "F*ck News" one stands out in my mind as a brilliant one, mainly because...well, yeah.)
There was a great shout from the workstation behind me that Lo! The Don was gone. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and mine ears were filled with the lamentations of women.
True but they are a tiny, tiny minority
You also have to be aware that people say things on the internet behind aliases they would never ever say in real life.
That's what I'm not so sure about. Perhaps I attract them, but there are a half dozen of them sitting within 50 feet of me here at work. I also spend my day talking to people over the phone who express similar sentiments (any sort of call centre is highly instructive for that sort of thing.)
There will always be individual extremists, and I don't want to give the impression I'm talking about someone quite like your stereotypical straw man/boogeyman. These are ordinary people who really do believe New Zealand is a hellhole, and only radical political invervention can save us.
thought most of the hand-wringing about how 'polarised' the electorate had become at the last election was real put-rubber-sheets-on-the-bed stuff, which said more about the media than the electorate.
I really don't know about that. You've got a section of the community that believes firmly that Maori are vastly, unfairly priveliged, that immigrants (specifically non-English speaking non-Europeans) are tearing our country apart, that we are one of the highest taxed, high crime countries in the world, that our economy and legislation is "Third World" and that the government its departments are infested with man-hating lesbians, overpaid tohunga consultants and PC-gone-mad lefty academics with no experience of the real world.
Then you've got people like me, who thinks that's all utter nonsense and that things are mostly fine.
There is a real, genuine conceptual divide in New Zealand that manifested itself strongly at the last election. It's not neatly aligned with the urban/rural split, or with rich middle aged white men vs everyone else, but it's very much there and it's something that threatens our tradition of polite, rational political dialogue simply because you're talking about two groups of people who see reality in such starkly different terms.
Certainly, that sort of extreme contrarianism is an inevitable result of the emotions an election stirs, but it's not all just rhetoric. I run into both "camps" of people day in and day out, and sometimes I find wondering how that conceptual divide happened, and whether there can ever really be some sort of compromise between the two groups.
Outside of a Dave Dobbyn song, anyway.
Firstly, Brash resurrected National's fortunes, not Key. Aren't National still ahead in the polls?
There's a perception on both sides of the divide that that's more the result of the recent bad publicity for Labour than for anything National or Brash have done.
I think so. But I also hope he can craft a National Party I can live with.
I've been thinking the same thing. Some of his views on tax reform are surprisingly reasonable. I was particularly impressed that he seems to understand the importance of giving R&D either tax exempt or dollar-for-dollar status.
That's a nice change from the "slash all taxes now!' brigade.
Mind you, I had the same hopes that Brash would herald a new level of intellectual rigor after the vague handwaving of Bill English's days, and look how that turned out.
They really need an option in that Herald poll for "Couldn't care less and rugby makes no sense to me".
I'd attach my name repeatedly to that option.
(Mind you, I'd probably be hunted down and beaten by rugby players.)
However, I will say one thing: is it just me, or is the (weekday) Herald single-handedly turning the whole thing into more of a shit fight than it actually needs to be?
The Business is taking it even further:
[Supporting the waterfront stadium is] a risky political strategy that could result in the statium turning the 2008 election into a virtual referendum in many Auckland seats.
...I'm sorry, but what the hell are you talking about?!?!
The day the location of a sporting arena becomes an election issue is the day I return my New Zealand citizenship and emigrate to somewhere like the Congo where they have proper election issues (like ninjas.)