Posts by Caleb D'Anvers

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas and grumbles,

    But I do agree with some other explanations; my last experience (The National) of standing around impatiently on a sticky plastic sheet for 2 hours waiting for the band to deign to join us has rather put me off live music.

    A number of people have touched on this, but I think it bears repeating. The difference between listening to live music in NZ and, say, London, is phenomenal. I can't stand the lackadaisical "doors open at 7; band shows up whenever" approach in NZ. It's exclusive, complacent, and basically contemptuous towards the audience. In London, however, noise ordinances mean that live gigs have to be over by 11 pm. The support act comes on at 8.30 sharp, the main act about 9.30, and everyone gets out with enough time to catch the tube and be home by midnight. The result? Gigs are a hell of a lot less grueling to attend in London. I also love how bands actually apologize -- profusely! -- if they're running a bit late.

    It's a cultural thing, sure, but also a good example of how gig-going cultures are a product of their local regulatory environments, which then go on to shape audience expectations. No Londoner would tolerate NZ gig culture and neither, frankly, should New Zealanders.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: It was 30 years ago today,

    I was 8 too. We were on holiday in the UK when the election happened, and I remember my parents -- Labour/Values types from way back who hated Muldoon with a burning passion -- making a special trip into NZ House in London to cast their votes. And so inadvertently helping to usher in the mass public sector retrenchment that would see them both restructured out of jobs by the end of Labour's second term.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Letter,

    It seems to me that this is a fairly standard move from the Karl Rove playbook. Attack your enemy’s strengths, and where possible, engage in tu quoque arguments and false equivalences to drown out your opponent’s signal. But I do wonder if the actions of National’s loyal defenders in the media do betray some measure of creeping anxiety about Key and the phenomenon of the “brain fade.” This counterattack on Cunliffe reflects Labour’s recent success in generating a fledgling media narrative about National’s dishonesty. Using standard tu quoque techniques, National are essentially projecting their own history of dishonesty back onto Cunliffe, making him bear the consequences of the kinds of moral failures they themselves have been accused of.

    But there’s something else going on here, too. Key is currently untouchable (apparently), so Cunliffe can only play the role of whipping boy. But the more Cunliffe is whipped for what are essentially Key’s faults, the more it becomes apparent that people (perhaps even media people) really are disturbed by Key’s history of obfuscation and what it suggests about the nature of National’s dealings with China. At the moment, this anxiety can only be displaced onto the weaker party (Labour) because National seems to be in an unassailable position and mainstream commentators are basically moral cowards. But the anxiety is still palpable nonetheless.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Russell Brown,

    On the subject of London, yes, the smog last week was unpleasant, but what really scares me is the long-term viability of the Thames Barrier. And there is, of course, no joined up thinking evident about the possible impact of flooding on the capital and what effect this might have on planning. The Greenwich peninsula, for instance, has been earmarked for intensive development over the next decade. There are multi-storey apartment blocks going up everywhere along the Thames Path. This on an area of marshland that wasn't even permanently settled until the nineteenth century because it flooded all the time. Meanwhile, here's a cheerful picture of how much of the capital would be under water if the Thames Barrier ever failed. Fun times ahead!

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Some Year,

    A pretty good year for music? I'd say so. I haven't gone to as many gigs this year as I'd like to have (curse you, Deerhunter, for cancelling your European tour!), but I managed Esben and the Witch and Thought Forms:


    Plus Veronica Falls and the Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses album launch:

    Here's a Spotify playlist I ended up making of new music that moved me in 2013, compiled kinda in response to the Guardian's predictably popist top 40 (which, natch, excluded pretty much all of it).

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing: the Feudal Model,

    London is one of the world's most intensified cities, yet the same problems of housing cost and housing supply are playing out here. Again, simply put: there is a shortage of "affordable" rental accommodation (<£1200 pcm) in the City and a disproportionate amount of new developments being built cater for the global super rich. As in Auckland, I suspect, these properties are marketed off-plan and are bought by investment consortia. In other words, they're not built to live in; they're built primarily to be financial assets. Many sit empty year round: there are whole apartment blocks, hell, whole streets in places like Chelsea, where there isn't a light on after dark.

    This is "market failure" like that plaguing Auckland writ large. And it indicates what the problem actually is: especially since 2008, urban planning and politics are being conducted for the benefit of the global elite rather than local populations. This is what "foreign investment" in the housing market looks like: retail prices out of the reach of anybody living and earning locally and new properties essentially designed to sit vacant all year round, while the local political elite increasingly sees the global rich as their constituency, not local electors.

    The idea that neoliberal policies like MUD are going to fix this is beyond laughable. This is the end-game of neoliberalism: this is the world they wanted. Those of us who have to live full-time in the cities now being run like theme parks for the global rich are not, how shall we say, the target market for mainstream political parties anymore.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: I like your old…,

    Our very own Matthew Bannister has some interesting things to say about the influence of the Velvets (and the influence of Warhol on them) in his White Boys, White Noise. He wrote a really good piece in Popular Music a few years as well, which touched on the question of how such an ephemeral and hard-to-access cultural artefact as the Velvet’s first album was able to circulate and become influential in ’70s New Zealand, but I can’t find a free version online. Curse you, Cambridge University Press!

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Weird Auckland,

    Having spent some time this week arguing on Twitter with the author of the blog post that declared Lorde’s ‘Royals’ is “deeply racist” (I’m not giving them any more inbound links, soz) because it observes that the ostentation of major label hip hop and other Top 40 pop isn’t terribly relevant to suburban teens in New Zealand, I can report that she and her friends aren’t really worth arguing with.

    What a two-handed head clutcher. I wonder if anti-racism often comes to resemble normal racism because it starts out by accepting the assumptions and categories of racism itself?

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The shaky ground of…,

    ... And I just found these entries by chance in a POW's 1918 diary in the Liddle Collection in Leeds:

    Sunday 16 June 1918
    No work.
    I have seen more men reading their bibles than ever before.

    Monday 17 June 1918
    Work on roadway, heavy rain.
    Dinner not fit to eat ...

    And here's Private Sidney Hamblin, 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, writing home from the trenches:

    10 January 1918 The trenches are awful, I didn’t sing many carols, old Fritz’s shells don’t form a very good base … The chaps read their bibles and pray, they look at that verse in Rev which says the war will last 42 months & of course they think it refers to this war, they don’t understand … Well my best hope is a slight wound that will take me home.

    There's this long history of books (and even the Bible!) coming in quite handy in combat zones and behind the lines. Losing oneself in a book momentarily was a tried and true coping mechanism for combat stress, not to mention a way of doing something in the long hours of waiting that military life generally consists of ...

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The shaky ground of…, in reply to Ross Mason,

    But as far as comfort goes, I would be cursing and swearing for allowing myself to be in such a position where a book (!) is alleged to be of some use.

    So you're not down with this kind of thing?

    The camp library is yours - Read to win the war
    You will find popular books for fighting men in the recreational buildings and at other points in this camp. Free. No red tape. Open every day. Good reading will help you advance. Library War Service, American Library Association [1917].

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

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