Posts by Matthew Littlewood

  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Yeah that's really sad news about John Prine. His debut is simply masterful songwriting: sometimes haunting, sometimes funny, but always felt., if that makes sense.

    Anyway, seeing as there will be several couples locked away in lockdown with (ahem) much time on their (ahem) hands, I would like to recommend this Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin classic.

    The whole record is a gas- sultry, sexy, funny and groovy- but it's the tune below that stays the longest for (ahem) obvious reasons. You look at Serge Gainsbourg and wonder how he had the pick of so many beautiful women, and then you hear something like this...and it all makes sense.

    (Possibly NSFW)

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves,

    I just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying Nadia Reid’s new album. It’s more expansive musically than anything she’s done previously, but it’s still very direct lyrically and vocally.

    For an album about trying to find your own place in the world (both literal and metaphorical), it’s surprisingly well grounded, if that makes sense.

    And I like the arrangements- some of them have a soulful swing to them, and the countrified touches sound natural too.

    As for appropriate "lockdown" songs, you can't go too much further than Al Green's "Can't Get Next to You", one of his toughest and most forceful songs. Even the horns sound like they're rooted to the ground.

    I've also been listening to a lot of early Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, and what's really struck me is how adult their music was. It was the music of people who had lived long and complicated lives, and there's something quite scary about their emotional honesty.

    Anyway, hope everyone is staying safe!

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Together Alone,

    Hope everyone is going well, I just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying Nadia Reid’s new album. It’s more expansive musically than anything she’s done previously, but it’s still very direct lyrically and vocally.

    For an album about trying to find your own place in the world (both literal and metaphorical), it’s surprisingly well grounded, if that makes sense.

    And I like the arrangements- some of them have a soulful swing to them, and the countrified touches sound natural too.

    Anyway, stay safe people! Walking through the supermarkets yesterday was an eerie experience, everyone (apart from the patient and kind staff) looked like they had seen a ghost. I think a lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: #GE2015: Proper Mad,

    While it's probably no surprise that The Guardian has endorsed the Labour Party, it's worthwhile pointing out that it's a very guarded endorsement:

    In each area, Labour could go further and be bolder. But the contrast between them and the Conservatives is sharp. While Labour would repeal the bedroom tax, the Tories are set on those £12bn of cuts to social security, cuts that will have a concrete and painful impact on real lives. Even if they don’t affect you, they will affect your disabled neighbour, reliant on a vital service that suddenly gets slashed, or the woman down the street, already working an exhausting double shift and still not able to feed her children without the help of benefits that are about to be squeezed yet further. For those people, and for many others, a Labour government can make a very big difference.

    This newspaper has never been a cheerleader for the Labour party. We are not now. But our view is clear. Labour provides the best hope for starting to tackle the turbulent issues facing us. On 7 May, as this country makes a profound decision about its future, we hope Britain turns to Labour.

    I'll be following the online coverage of this. The result could turn out to be, as you say, proper mad. The real question is whether this will fan the flames for a proper referendum on PR, as opposed to the utterly botched AV shambles that the LibDems got from the Conservatives last time.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But in series one, Ali Campbell was unenthralling as a judge. It turned out he had drinking and heath issues and wasn't that happy

    Ali Campbell was on NZ's Got Talent, it was Daniel Beddingfield who filled in the X-Factor role. He seemed to want to use the role to revitalise his decade-stagnant career. Another example of them gambling on a one-hit wonder.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We can do better than this, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wouldn’t act that way, says Bill English. I actually believe him.

    Incidentally, Grant McDougall was just at a Dunedin North “meet the candidates” event, and Michael Woodhouse MP told the audience he “did not condone” civil servants’ information being leaked.

    Also, this morning’s Morning Report item, where gallery journalists ask Prime Minister John Key repeatedly how Collins “has been held responsible” for her actions and not get anything in the way of a concrete answer, is oddly compelling. Armando (In the Thick of It) Iannucci could have scripted it.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Farrar’s post, amazingly completely leaves out the fact that the National MP (and darling of the Lusk-Slater set) was burgled *last year*.

    See also Farrar’s Sometimes people say jerky things in emails to explain some of the more noxious material of the conversations coming out.

    To be fair, I’d also be pretty pissed off too if someone leaked my commercial documents. But he clearly wasn’t hacked.

    Also, there's no way you can defend Slater's comments about ChCh's earthquake victims, private conversations or not.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to Steve Parks,

    My faith in journalism in NZ in general will be restored if one or more mainstream journalists takes up the points you’re referring to, Matthew. Won’t hold my breath, tho’.

    David Fisher has already picked up on the Katherine Rich/Carrick Graham angle, as did this interesting feature about Slater by Fairfax's Kate Shuttleworth. And the young gallery members' grilling of Key during his 20 minute stand-up was robust stuff. Andrea Vance, who I rate as a phenomenally good journalist (almost a bit jealous at her talent!), has picked up on the fact that Jason Ede still has parliamentary access. Considering the book was only released a few days ago, there's a lot of material being explored by the journalists. It's actually quite heartening.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    [Seriously, why not just go read the book? It’s quite short! Hager’s pretty good at telling a story. It’s quite an easy read.]

    Yep. It’s only 150 pages (not includes the mutlitude of footnotes and cross-references). Compared to the Hollow Men, the tone is a lot more urgent and even gobsmacked, but Hager is, on all occasions, very careful not to make direct links when he doesn’t have the information (unlike some of those who have made comments about the book this far). If the Hollow Men was principally about the education (and ultimate corruption) of a political novice, then Dirty Politics is about a group of individuals desperately trying to get into the system and trying to poision it for their own means. In fact, the chapter that was most surprising (and disturbing) for me isn’t so much the alleged shenanigans of Slater, Lusk et al- it’s awful, but you wouldn’t expect anything less of them.

    What really galls me is the way Carrick Graham (and possibly even Katherine Rich) tried to use Slater et al as proxies to smear public health advocates. It’s horrid. And certainly worthy of wider investigation. (I guess it’s similar to the chapter in the Hollow Men about how various proxies tired to launder political campaign advertisements through the racing industry)

    Dirty Politics packs a lot of detail in its 150 pages. It’s kinda breathless at times. The Hollow Men was more, shall we say, accumulative in its narrative. But it’s a rare investigative journalist who can write as well as they investigate, and Hager is one of those.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Like Danyl, I think the book has had a significant impact on me. I’ve been on civil terms with some people in the wider circle. I’m not sure I have it in me to do that any more. Fuck them.

    After reading the book, I really wonder who was really responsible for Whaleoil's series of repugnant posts on Tania Billingsley. It seems consistent with the stuff he was constantly being fed and passing off as his own.

    It's pretty bloody appalling, really.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

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