Monday, June 19, 2006

Pride and prejudice

I’m not sure what to say about this rather unpleasant little story in the once mighty but now, only-just-crawling-above-tabloid-level NZ Herald. As one who is privy to large parts of this story, and, indeed is, without permission, quoted from my website (although to be fair, I do give a permission of sort in the copyright note for quotation with credit although I didn’t imagine it would be used for something like this) in relation to the matter, I could write screeds about it and fill this page with all sorts of things. But I’m not going to for obvious reasons, and I think it’s unfortunate that others, especially those who place themselves in a position of moral authority as the self righteous Herald has in past years, see fit to.

I should also clarify that the comments quoted on my site do not apply to the current management at Universal NZ, a couple of which worked long and hard on the OMC project, and one in particular played a big part in its success.

But what saddens me is the way New Zealand so happily crucifies those who it previously celebrated. He has made some financial mistakes, mainly through inexperience, bad advice (and I note that some of those to whom he owed large sums were those to whom entrusted himself for advice, and others who rushed at him as way to make a quick buck but turned) Pauly has done little wrong beyond naivety. In fact he has done a lot right. He waved the flag for his nation all over the world. He was a proud ambassador of his nation and his people. I sat with him in radio stations on the other side of the world when he extolled the virtues of New Zealand as a place to live to millions, and, with immense pride explained to newspaper reporters, smitten by his handsome charm, as to the significance of the tattoos on his arms. Indeed, when How Bizarre took off there was massive pressure to re-locate to the UK, and I put it to Pauly but he told me he wanted to raise his family in New Zealand, he loved it and it was home. I understood.

New Zealand also took pride in him. He has been quoted several times by the Prime Minister, was on the cover of countless NZ on Air publications and collections, and New Zealanders the world over still claim to feel a buzz when they hear the song on a radio station in Cancun or Prague, as you are just as likely to (actually more so) as in Auckland.

Pauly’s first recordings are on the Proud collection, and it makes perfect sense. He taught me more about national pride than years standing in classrooms singing the national anthem or watching sheep wave red socks did...

He also made New Zealand an awfully large amount of money (the Herald story was a mile off in this) and my belief is (and once again, I’m not privy to the details, I haven’t spoken to Paul this year but based on comments he was making) that the IRD may have played a large part in the decision last week. If so, I’m rather ashamed to be a New Zealander as his income stream was still strong enough to make a hole in most debt and it was cruelly unnecessary. He had also given to the nation in so many other innumerable ways. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here a little…I certainly hope so.

Factually the Herald story, which has an almost gloating feel to it, had more than a few holes, but I guess that’s because most of us wouldn’t speak to them…I declined, although I regret I wasn’t firm enough about my reasons for it.

And as person, Pauly has, as many artists do, a fragility that this story won’t help at all.

But I guess in the drive to sell newspapers and advertising that doesn’t matter.

There is an irony in all this: The Herald was instrumental in Pauly's rise via a story from one of it's finest writers, Graham Reid. However, when Pauly hit the top of the US charts an approach by myself for a piece was declined by the Chief Reporter with a response of "we've already covered him". I guess they found another reason...