Wednesday, 28 February 2007

It's like your talking in French

The internet connection is back up and running nd oh dear god have I been making up for lost time. Suffice to my laptop and my physical self have had to give up after downloading almsot 12 hours of new music for the iPod.

Colour me extremely giddy if somewhat exhausted.

New acts I am very much in heart with include Young Lovers, Goose, Midnight Juggernauts and Riot in Belgium, and as far as new tasty treats go I've managed to get my hands on the glorious Ed Banger Records Vol 2, Midnight Juggernatus EP and Goldfrapp live at Brighton Dome.


God I must sound like John Campbell.

And on that night I'm off to bed. Nighty night children.

Leopards and spots

I was reading in a recent issue of The Economist that Canada's PM was trying to rebrand Canada's national image into something fiercer and more tenacious than the country has generally been known to be.

Alongside the British lion, American bald eagle, Russian bear and Chinese dragon could be the Canadian wolverine. Now I am enough of a geek to have got into X-Men comics at high school and seen the subsequent X-Men films, so my opinion on the wolverine isn't an altogether bad one.

Others much closer to North American climes seem more acutely aware than my anitpodean self of the downsides to Canada's prospective national animal. One such blogger describes the wolverine as a "skunk bear" and "nasty cat" given it is known to attack pretty much anything and stink something seriously rank.

Given the choice would you want this guy...

or this guy...

Despite the tenacity, you'd think Stephen Harper would have thought twice before speaking publicly of his suggested new national image for my beloved Canada.

The beaver is currently our national image and although an example of buck-toothed industriousness, I'd probably run with the moose as our national animal if it came to a referendum. Sure it's a casual beast that always seems to move about at its own pace. Sure Bullwinkle made him look inept and moronic for successive generations raised on cartoons and fruit loops. But what it really comes down to is the majesty and mana of everyone's favourite Howard and this classic Canadian joke...

Two Canadians are sitting around in a bar bored out of their minds. One of them comes up with a bright idea, they'd try a guessing game.

So one of them thinks and thinks and nothing is coming to his mind except moosecock.

So his buddy asks him, "hey, did you think of a word yet?"

He smirks and says, "Yeah, I guess so."

"So is it edible?"

"Yeah," he laughs, "I guess you could eat it."

"Is it moosecock?"

Colour me suitably impressed

LCD Soundsystem's video for "North American Scum" just came on TV.

I am so sending flowers to the programmers at C4TV!

Well... when I can afford to do so I will.

The video for Klaxons "Golden Skans" was on TV last night as your next favourite band.

I almost cried.

New Rave to the masses.

That's what I like to see and hear.

That's what the people want.

Oh and sorry Antz but the leaked NIN tracks I found had already been intercepted by their lawyers and taken down, but one of them can be streamed on their myspace. No word on the other one.

Speaking of words, did you hear the one about Portishead trialling new material in a gig so secret the venue people unwittingly charged vocalist Beth Gibbons for entry to the gig. I've heard rumours before of the new CD being on the way I've since given up holding my breath what with a decade sitting squarely between now and when they last released anything.

Oi with the surprises already!

Ok so maybe I was switched on the TV when I got home from work today so that C4 would run in the background of one's daily pre-dinner rituals. And maybe I didn't immediately regret doing this because the infinitely less annoying Jo Cotton was hosting Vodafone Select Live instead of the too annoying for words Joel De Fries. And maybe she made a wee announcement that made me stop in my tracks.

The announcement?

The Rapture are playing the St James in Auckland on the 28th. Of March. The Rapture people. House of! Jealous lovers shake dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooown!

Sure they're sharing the spotlight with Gnarls Barkley but I can forgive that for the joy of seeing them play House of Jealous Lovers.

They're crossing the Tasman as part of the Australian V Festival. Other acts coming along for the ride include Pet Shop Boys, New York Dolls, a seemingly-back-together Groove Armada and another group that Jo forgot to mention on TV.

The Rapture's myspace mentioned nothing about coming to New Zealand so I naturally became suspicious C4 were talking shit and decided to check out Ticketmaster to get the good oil and oh what mighty oil it was. Not only did I learn tickets for the Gnarls Barkley / The Rapture gig were in the $70-80 range, but that Soulwax were coming back for a Nite Versions gig that would only cost around $60.

Fucking A!!!

I know it's close to Melbourne. Ok REALLY close to Melbourne, but it's Soulwax people. Soul. Wax. I feel a desperate need to go. A REALLY desperate need to go. I only have a photo and borrowed memories from the ever-lovely EKG to rely on from their last visit to our fair shores. I need more, people. I need more.

If these appearances don't excite you as much as they do me, then I can only shake my head at you in unmitigated disappointment.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

This is getting tedious

Ok so maybe we got the internet reconnected at the flat only this Sunday night and maybe we downloaded around 11 hours of music before becoming exhausted by all the new tunes (my laptop almost crapped out on me a few times there with all the downloading).

Well the internet connection hasn't worked since.

Colour me so over this.

And, how was your weekend?

Remember this emotional equation

Forgive the use of one person's lyrics in a post about another person's solo gig but I can't the song out of my head. No it's not a Kylie lyric. Bonus points for anyone who can identify the song it's from.

But I digress.

Last Thursday saw Mister Chris get me out of the flat for Julia Deans' solo gig at Happy. Apparently she does solo gigs when she's in town sans Fur Patrol. Which is nice.

Ryan Prebble opened for her. He's kinda bluesy acoustic blah in a similar vein to the John Butler Trio. So not my cup of tea. The songs all sounded the same, he played the guitar to the same thumping beat in every song and his voice would take on this really odd if OTT character. None of his set seemed to work for the small venue or the gathered masses, many of whom sat awash in the collective glow of their cellphone screens and distraceted by goings on elsewhere.

Thankfully his set didn't last the evening and the surprisingly diminutive Deans took to the stage with guitar in hand and notepad by her feet. She played an acoustic set of god knows how many songs and I thought it was great. The songs were catchy but different enough from each other as not to be boring in the least. I'm not enough of a fan of Fur Patrol's to know which were new and which were not so new, but they all seemed to fit the venue, the evening, the audience. Almost like kismet.

Some of her asides between songs were quite funny (especially the bit about the crying baby having gone to Shihad gigs and never crying).

Her hair was big and red.

It was all good. Even in spite of killing time at The Lanes beforehand.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed...

My internet connection back at the flat!

New tunes for the iPod!

A holiday!

The last few remaining Dunny Azteca I need to complete the set!

White Summer Truffle Oil!

Pay day to be tomorrow, and not Thursday!




But mainly money.

Not at all what you had in mind, was it darling?

The lack of a landline and consequential absence of an internet connection at the flat has seen me embrace the written word like never before. Ok thats a bit strong even for my hyperbole-prone self. My sixth form year at Wellington College was perhaps my most voracious year of the written word. And what tasty words they were too. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's character study of life in a Russian labour camp A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch. E.M. Forester's stirring indictment of colonial arrogance and the power of landscape Passage To India. E. Annie Proulx's laudable pre-Brokeback effort The Shipping News. Cormac McCarthy's engaging if made-for-film All The Pretty Horses. I did try reading The Great Gatsby but I just couldn't get into.

Well my entry into The Billings Arrangement saw a copy of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men turn up in my inbox one morning.

It did however take over a year for me to get around to finishing the book. It is by no means a weighty savage tome but McCarthy's treatment of violence is stunning and sometimes hard-to-take. He approaches it with the same nonchalance as a conversation between two people in a diner. This is arguably one of the reasons why he is regarded by some of us as a literary genius.

It is a shame then that a truly engaging plotline and standout scenes are swfitly over-ridden with what struck me as a rushed conclusion to the last 100 pages of the book. Characters I'd come to enjoy reading about were discarded one way or another for the inner monologues and personal reflections of a man leading a life he didn't want for himself.

The Slightly Silver fox saw No Country For Old Men as "the work of an utter genius. Intricate plot with sublime interpolations between the reality of the Chigurh drama and the deeper reality of the musings."

It's worth a read if you ever come across a copy. I'm only sorry it was a good if imperfect read.

Saved by the sachets

Today The American and me/myself/I (The Pedant has me all confused on the appropriate term) forged new culinary horizons by trying out packet noodles. Not just any packet noodles mind you. No no no, we're talking inherited packet noodles. Packet noodles from bygone eras in the workplace. Packet noodles with frighteningly imminent use-by dates.

Mesmerised by the prospect of packet noodles with not one, not two but five sachets of seasoning, I went with IndoMie's mi goreng noodles (halal certified for the culturally-sympathetic consumer), while The American went with an ominously brittle packet of Trident's soft udon noodles.

Awash in the aromas of stale noodles, we gingerly added our seasoning sachets and colour me remarkably surprised that the sachets rescued the noodles from banality. Mine tasted like an Indonesian sewer but at least it no longer tasted stale. I blame the seasoning oil sachet. It looked plenty gritty before I squeezed it onto my halal noodles. That my friends is why five is never a good number when it comes to noodle seasoning sachets. The American seemed disgusted with his packet noodles although I'm inclined to see that as the visceral indignity of eating packet noodles than anything else.

I used to enjoy Mr Yeo's beef noodles when I was at Wellington College. Well not when I was there but during my secondary schooling years. The noodles didn't suffer from that odd taste that maggi noodles had and sure Mr Yeo's beef flavouring turned my teeth to chalk but they were damn good noodles.

I shouldn't want to overstress the challenge this posed to our respective selves. Despite our mutual penury, this is quite a comedown from the majesty of po'boys at Sweet Mother's Kitchen, waterfront stops at Kaffee Eis, Rawhide's gourmet steak sandwiches and even the conveniently-packaged crepes from the conveniently-located Crepes A Go-Go.

Which reminds me, I have a coupon thing for a free honey crepe with any hot drink at either the Harbour City Centre or Manners Mall Crepes A Go-Go. Let me know if interested. The American had the lemon and sugar crepe one morning and it smelled rather intoxicating. I'm partial to the ham, cheese and pickle crepe myself.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The Joy of Valentine's Day

By someone who isn't participating this year.

It's mid-afternoon and all you've received are a few joke emails of the Hoff persuasion and one so sickly-sweet and earnest you thought you'd washed up in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory just from reading it.

You're sitting at your desk trying to get work done, but throughts plague your every keystroke.

"Where is my cellophane-wrapped bundle of expensive if inedible chocolates?"

"Where is my $20 Valentine's Day Special bouquet of ubiquitous red roses?"

"Where is my tacky wee teddy bear holding a prominently-displayed heart-shaped doily?"

"Where is my achingly-saccharine moment of forced romance with my significant other?"

Because you deserve it.

Will you be my Valentine?

Following on from the inscrutable Mister Chris I proffer my own Valentine's Day 5, namely:

Spend The Night : She Wants Revenge
Jesus Was My Girl : David Usher
Miserable Girl : Soulwax
Damage I've Done : The Heads
Sex Me Up : Datarock

If I had an internet connection at the flat I'd be scrounging 'round the net to see if PTVN has come out with another blinder of a Valentine's Day Mix.

But I don't.

So I can't.

Colour me culturally oppressed

I'm not ignorant to the trading of my cultural heritage one tacky plastic trinket at a time. I'm not ignorant to a bastardised reflection of my cultural heritage being paraded weeknights to curious overseas visitors. I've seen the god awful thing carved into the side of Mike Tyson's face that he thinks is some kind of Maori warrior tattoo. I remember Moontide doing a fashion show with swimwear and models emblazoned with Maori symbology.

So it came as no surprise that hangi would find itself in the frozen meal section of my nearest and arguably dearest of supermarkets.

It concerns me that this looks no different from any other frozen dinner because hangi isn't like just any other dinner. If it was, some of us wouldn't crave it as strongly as we do, we wouldn't hang around the hangi pit as ravenously and expectantly as we tend to, nor would we brave third degree burns to our hands to help lay out the volcanic food for serving.

Where are the bits of chicken with the indelible marks of being torn apart by the hands of mothers while their hordes of kids scurry about their feet?

Where are the dark stains of diesel from the sacks used to clad the hangi?

Where are the way over-cooked veges?

More importantly, who the fuck puts corn in a hangi?

If you want to have hangi people, please make more of an effort than buying shit like this. Please. On the graves of my ancestors, please!!!

Let us prevent future generations of New Zelanders coming to equate hangi with some rubbish frozen meal liberally applied with "smoked veneer".

Think of the children.

Monday, 12 February 2007

This is becoming quite the habit

We're having technical difficulties of an internet connection nature at the flat, so the updates and responses will be sporadic at best until such difficulties are overcome.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Filial piety in this day and age

After god knows how many years of being nagged and a direct result of one particularly opportune-for-her moment of weakness, I took my mother to lunch today. It seems she's been reading my blog intermittently for a while now and caught my mentions of po'boy at Sweet Mother's Kitchen so lo and behold we found ourselves there for a surprisingly pleasant lunch.

Sure there were the inevitable probing lines of questioning into my career plans, career options and ambitions. Sure there were the long-awaited questions of how I was managing life in the flat, and sure she did probe me about my living costs.

Thankfully the beef po'boy and corn chip side more than offset any discomfort under interrogation. I was expecting questions about my lovelife but they never eventuated so I could enjoy the vanilla milkshake for what it was: a very refreshing drink.

I'm just not sure going with one's mother to a place full of hot people wearing not much of anything is such a good idea. Next time we'll have to go somewhere dark and mysterious with an impressive cassoulet or confit. Better be expensive too.

It'll be her shout.

The Joy of Cricket or Why Cricket Is Better Than Sex

by Jimmy Jangles.

The sport of cricket. Full of weird inner workings, cricket is wired differently from other sports such as the horizontal tango. Even, Shane Warne often confuses the two, so there might not be much hope for you but here goes.

The casual outsider can do little to understand the game and its dated values of gentlemanly conduct. With laws older than the rule of law itself the observer can hardly be compelled to even make even the slightest effort to comprehend the distinct jargon used. Googly. See right now you are thinking of a famous search engine.

One thing that one can be certain of is that cricket is better than sex. And thus we have the joy of cricket: Why cricket is better than sex.

Test match series can be five games long with each game played for 6 hours a day for 5 days. That’s 150 hours of cricket people! With multiple partners!

For some people, they are lucky if they can get a date with a refrigerated cucumber.

You can watch as many cricket matches as you want. Tests, ODI, Kiwi Cricket, Club Cricket, and even Women's Cricket. You can mix and match (?!) to your taste. A game of cricket never gets jealous if you sneak in a cheeky 20/20 after work at the Basin on a Friday.

Try having a game of sex after work with another sex partner and you are rooted. Or not as the case may be.

You can bowl a maiden over at any time in cricket. Good luck finding a maiden to bowl over on Courtney Place on a sunday morning after the Sevens (quit with the cliches - Ed).

Unlike sex when you’re often asked to shave before you misbehave - cricket never requires you to freshen up. You never have to wash your sweaty old box out before a game of cricket do you?

Cricket doesn't mind if you use someone else's bat for an innings. Woe betide the fool that chances his arm at the post game drinks though eh?

It doesn't matter what side you bat for in cricket. If you're in, you're in. If you're out you're out. Further, every one knows what side you bat for in cricket, outside of that it can be nightmare.

In cricket you can say whatever you want to the batsmen. You can call them "a wimpy fat girls blouse who ate all the pies" if you want, no one except Lou Vincent really minds. But try screaming it at your partner's face during a round of bedroom ball dancing and you'll be knocking in your own bat all by yourself before long.

A sticky wicket can be a good thing in cricket.

There are some similarities between cricket and sex that should not be ignored however.

For both activities - if there is grass on the wicket, its time to play cricket. Its also handy to have a couple of balls to play with. Having a good line and length can be handy.

So there you have it all the reasons you need to get Sky TV and get the cricket live over the summer. Granted it’s more expensive than a cucumber but you’ll be more satisfied.

Well... Colour me suitably impressed.

All is forgiven

From the Better Late Than Never Archives (it's right next to where we keep things best left unsaid and across the corridor from the "orange" room) comes this particular previously unposted comment from earlier this year...

Forced to watch the BDO on TV in lieu of being there in person, C4 personality and previous luminary of this fine literary effort Shavaughn Ruakere was spied by this consumer whore to have commented how she loved The Presets' live set.

We love Shav.

Colour me smitten.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

The Joy of The Billings Arrangement

By the Slightly Silver Fox.

I call my library service The Billings Arrangement, because I arrange the books on my shelf allowing only those validated by my circle as very good to remain. I then arrange to lend them to people. Anything else is literally thrown in the bin – e.g. paint by numbers novels like Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth (utter crap), a portal fantasy called The Hickory Staff (amazingly two guys had to collaborate to write Tolkien rip-off drivel), Jarhead (the least captivating soldier’s view of war ever written, and written by a self-serving racist bigot arsehole).

It's rather expensive you see. That’s approximately $90 in the local tip, alongside many others. I refuse to sell them to second-hand bookshops as my philanthropy extends to protecting others from bad reads.

It’s surprising how it flows – the hardest part is replacing the good ones that fall to bits. As
The Secret History is only $20 (a Penguin Red Classic – I don't know how Penguin makes any money) I took it out of the Arrangement and just buy it for people.

Amusingly, the owners of my local bookshop have noticed this guy coming in and repeatedly buying the same book (you can get noticed in Tauranga if you do something even slightly wacky). Apparently this is a first in their 25 years of book retailing.

There are also no rules like there would be with a library – it is entirely up to the borrower whether they return the books or not. Failure to do so carries a karmic price which I regard as their problem, not mine.

And, no this isn't the "expect greatness" post either.

These are real guys. Doing real shit.

A present I and no doubt countless others recieved from the Slightly Silver Fox this very recent Christmas has proved quite the enthralling read. Many of the very wee hours of many of my mornings have been spent in thrall to the constant stream of revelations of character as I head now into the final sprint of the last 80 pages.

Forgive my reliance on the following analogy but I couldn't think of any other way to describe the book without geeking off on particular excerpts from a book most (if not all) of you have not likely read.

Donna Tartt's The Secret History starts off like you're scanning the different pieces to a jigsaw. The book reveals quite early on the picture that the different pieces would later combine to form, but you spend the first half of the book trying to work out how they fit together. Then when things do come together about halfway through the book you swiftly realise the picture wasn't the point of the jigsaw. Instead you realise the pieces of the jigsaw weren't what you thought they were and what you've ended up with us something quite different. Kind of like those two-sided jigsaw puzzles that used to be all the rage back in the Where's Wally? age of family entertainment. Think of it as akin to originally thinking you were putting together a pleasant landscape of the Cezanne variety, only to find yourself having completed on the underside a visceral vision of evil a la Hieronymous Bosch. Ok so maybe it is not quite that extreme but you get an idea of the shift towards something more substantive, more nuanced, more involving.

Suffice to say it would behove you to get your own copy.

No this isn't the "expect greatness" post, but merely an amuse bouche of sorts.

Patience is a virtue

A virtue which will be rewarded very soon with a post of the unrelated-to-music-I'm-loving-right-now variety currently under development.

Expect greatness.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

And this is another reason

Just ignore the whole Need for Speed AMV.

SebastiAn's Ross Ross Ross

it's like Outrun but you're a badass zombie

This is a little taste of why I'm heading to Melbourne.

Kavinsky's Testarossa Autodrive

Saturday, 3 February 2007

10 reasons why I wish I was Australian

01. The Presets

02. Cut Copy

03. Bang Gang

04. Van She Tech

05. Teenagers In Tokyo

06. The Hate Game (formerly Vendettas)

07. Bumblebeez

08. Riot In Belgium

09. The Valentino's

10. All the international acts that never make it as far as NZ

I read blogs like this and Piers' own effort and listen to FBi's Beforecast and can't help but get more than a little frustrated from having to rely on more virtual means to get my music fix than seems photographically apparent among many of our antipodean brethren.

I've struggled to meet people in our nation's capital who share my love for new rave and other electro indie rock elements. I don't mean to seem ungrateful towards my nearest and dearest but our tastes in music are really quite different. I've lived with being a bit different for most of my life so its hardly something new. It's just that a lot of the new tunes coming out of the gritty new rave scene are as close as this cynic will get to a religious experience and that experience seems largely a solitary one.

Australia has become a serious source of stonkingly good music. Certainly good enough to rival the best that France is able to produce in this post-Daft Punk era. I know that's a big call in the face of such gallic names as Justice, SebastiAn, Kavinsky and arguably even Surkin, but the new tunes coming out of Australia make me brave enough to be so bold.

Shame about the accent though.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Now this is a video

Although a promo for show in the UK called Skins, this could arguably be the music video for Soulwax's edit of The Gossip's Standing In The Way Of Control.

I don't remmeber going to parties like this when I was their age.

Props to Richard at BigStereo for the revelation.

The Latest Extended Party Trailer

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I leave you people alone for a week and this is what happens?

Piers throws down the culinary gauntlet.

It seems JJ has been licking cricket a bit much of late.

Mister Chris is neglecting his readers.

I'm bringing the consumer whoreness back.

Joel the Jet Pilot of Japanese affection is in the better of our two islands this Waitangi weekend.

Thankfully this weekend I have a 30th, a 21st, a birthday barbecue, an always delightful if sometimes frustrating 20yo gay boy, a flatmate catering to his 'particular needs' and a greatly-abridged working week next week.

Amen for small mercies is all I can say.

And now for the difficult decisions...

Coming over with cousin craziness with Mister Chris for Bic Runga's acoustic winery tour in the rarified surrounds of the Wairarapa


Catching a Melburnian slice of SebastiAn and Kavinsky's Australian tour with Piers a couple weeks later






What to do, what to do.

You tell me!

Thursday, 1 February 2007

With a little something for everyone

Big ups to Joel the Jet Pilot with a Japanese affection for hunting down a most excellent mix from Britannic duo La Grève Générale. Entitled the Soixante-Trois Minutes mix for reasons that didn't escape me, the track listing is a veritable who's who that even JJ would appreciate.

Big ups also to Richard of BigStereo fame for bringing us cultured few yet more musical goodness in the form of not one but two ecstatic examples of newraveliciousness. Yes people. New. Rave. Licious. Ness. And you know what? One is done by Guns'N'Bombs. GUNS'N'BOMBS!!! We love Guns'N'Bombs here at SFTWM. Oh yes. Oh yes we do.

Download it now people! Listen to it now people! Love it now people!

You heard me.

All of it!

Don't make me tell you twice.

Ok, three times.

Forgive me. I'm giddy from all the new tunes.

We take you now to Gisborne, New Zealand

(Unknowingly) by everyone's favourite South Pacific Floral Wonder.

As Kate and I were scoping the toy section of Farmers today, we came upon this curious fellow...

Unfortunately my pxt didn’t allow you to read the writing, but it says...

“Prince Derek – 12 pairs of dancing shoes”

As you can see, not only does Prince Derek have an exhaustive array of dancing shoes for every dancing occasion, they are also of the female variety.

Is Prince Derek the sexually comfortable child icon of 2007? Has political correctness gone too far? Has the modern male been robbed of his masculinity?

These are questions I leave you to ponder as you view this photo.

Forgive the oots and aboots, but...

I hope Canada outlasts the New Zealanders at the Sevens the next couple days.

I really do.

Yes I do wear my toque with pride, yes there is a maple leaf on my backpack, yes maple syrup does course through my veins, yes the moose is this man's best friend, and yes my ankles are shattered from too many hours on the ice slicing a puck across the rink.

How's that for national pride?

Proud like Howard!