Saturday, December 16, 2006

gonna walk and don't look back

I bought The Bali Times today. I usually do, and I never really know why, as there is little usually in there. But it’s all we have, and its getting better.

However I’m pleased to see the bit about the compulsory course in corruption that our local constabulary are being forced to attend. Just to show how important this is to the powers that be, they’ve imported some experts from Jakarta to help. The last bit rather confuses me as I’ve always thought our local lads are rather good at the corruption and graft stuff and wouldn’t need any help. Clearly the brass thinks they have something to learn from the big city boys.

I can see the classes (and you’ll forgive my fractured Bahasa…I’m only up to stage one in my course) now…

“Jalan kaki ke pertigaan tengah….” (walk to the centre of the intersection)

“stop the first likely car or bike (preferably driven by a bulé)”

“tell them they went thru a red light / crossed a white line / didn’t give way”

“ask them to accompany you to the tempat polisi on the corner”

“ask them if you would like to solve this the easy way”….

Obviously, since I don’t want Bali to be seen as provincial, I hope the chaps from the smoke can teach our boys the correct approach, and the best of them, having passed this course can proceed to the Districtjudge 101, or other advanced courses, of which there are many.

Friday, December 15, 2006

when the party's over /and everyone has gone

My friend Harry, from the dark side of the five boroughs, has issued a request for some live gigs to go with my album, 12” and 7” lists. He provided me with a list of his own so I’ll post that first, elevated from the comments...its essential reading…and then I’ll post mine

  • Magazine....Mainstreet AK...right after the "Correct Use of Soap"...hard to top
  • Birthday Party...Victoria University matter how big the room was you just did not want to be in that room with those guys on stage that night...they were frightening
  • Tom Waits.....Hammersmith Odeon London 88 (I think)...right after "Franks Wild Years" and when he sat down at the piano for "Xmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" my world was in that the letter was written from
  • Rolling Stones.....Port Chester NY..forgot which year but it was the "Voodoo Lounge" front of 1000 people for a VH1 out the limo in a cloud of pot smoke,looking at a wall of NY state troopers and the 8 Ball fell out me pocket...OOPS
  • Cramps...Marquee NY circa 1990...secret gig...maybe 40 of us there and Lux just tore that shit up....pulled out a TV guide and read to us what shows we were missing that night,then proceeded to go the whole 10 yards....when he wasn't wanking on stage he was sticking the mike up Ivy and licking it dry...
  • Pixies...CBGB's NY first show in NY,my first time at CB's and the Pixies first show in the apple
  • Primal Scream...Ritz NY...right after "Screamadelica"...the 5th pill hit when they came out for the encore "Higher than the Sun"..the 6th kicked in when they followed it up with "No Fun"
  • Springsteen and the E Street Band...Giants Stadium NY...about 3 yrs ago.....U can love the guy or hate the guy but it's an insane experience seeing him in the middle of 10 sellout nights on home turf in front of 60,000 thoughts were "If You go to Egypt Ya climb the pyramids" and if Your in NY and Bruce does Giants then it just has to be done....well worth it...
  • Aerosmith...Beacon Theater...last week....I know what yr thinking BUT these fuckers kicked...played 2 hrs of the first 2 albums intersperesed with covers like "Walking the Dog" and "Baby Please Don't Go"....very few people can go anywhere near Joe Perry,when he is on form....he's like Keith on Crystal....and he can fucking play...LOUD
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse...MSG NY..Right after "Ragged Glory" came out Neil went on the road with Sonic Youth.Well the Sonic's like to make a racket and such but the first note of the "Star Spangled Banner" shook the building...right at the beginning of the first Gulf war with speakers draped in Dove's and peace signs..."Hey Hey,My My"
  • Sonic Youth..ULU London....86...right after Evol....anyone at that show would know...
  • the Orb...Roseland NY.....Not just the show but the 1/4 ounce of mushrooms we used as the seasoning on the Mexican food beforehand and the three days of chaos that followed....

and Some duds....

  • Johnny Thunders...Marquee London....walked onstage,promptly fell over and went to sleep...
  • Juliet and the Licks...Knitting Factory takes a hell of a lot to want to throw a bottle at a Hollywood actress,but they were so bad I had too...shame i missed..
  • Toto...BB King Club...Times Sq NY...How many people in the world can say "I Got so Fucking drunk last night,I went to see Toto"....not many...well I only caught two chords before the bouncers chucked me put for being too drunk...go figure...

And mine…I was actually trying to knock over the last of my albums but this will do in the interim. The year is sometimes vague. Excluding DJs of course, and with the proviso that I may well have been in a better state, although not always, than Mr Bastard, here we are….

  • The Screaming Blamatic Roadshow….Victoria University, August 1981…we had arrived in Wellington in our convoy of battered vans naively expecting a friendly reception at our gig. We hadn’t really planned on the reception from the Wainui boys…sub-neanderthal skinheads who had decided to beat all of us to a pulp, with chains and the such. It was all on, but I think, as we had the intellectual advantage, we somehow got the better of them. They were the sort you could say “look over there”, they would turn away, and you could thump. My two favourite visions are Don McGlashan with some thug’s head between his knees as he bore his clinched fist down on it; and Michael O”Neal from The Screaming Meemees calmly swinging his guitar to knock out some goon before he went to the guitar solo in See Me Go. Next morning Syd, from The Newmatics, had the tread mark from the sole of a Doc Marten on his cheek.
  • Beach Boys....Western Springs, Auckland, Feb 1978.. this was the legendary tour when Dennis got fired after some drunken fracas at the hotel, and Brian had no idea where he was whilst they played. He wandered on and off the stage, sometimes half way through a song. That said I was totally fried, it was an incredibly beautiful summer’s Sunday afternoon and the mix of seventies and sixties BB songs sounded quite good as I recall.
  • Led Zeppelin….Western Springs, Auckland, Feb, 1972…is was my first real concert. I was a kid and told my parents I was elsewhere. My very vague memories are the incredible looked and felt like a wall of sound, but photographs now show it to be otherwise. It was less than an impressive looking stage by contemporary standards, but, fuck it, I saw Zeppelin at their peak…..
  • Split Ends…His Majesty’s Theatre, Auckland Dec, 1974…the Christmas Pandemonium Concert. It cost a dollar and it changed my life. In two halves, I had memories of the second half starting with Judd on a deck chair strumming Titus. I dismissed it after all these years as a false memory until Richard Driver came up with the footage. I’d seen nothing like it..and still haven’t. They were never this good, this inventive, again.
  • The Enemy….. Zwines, Auckland 1978…the Dunedin’s hippy crew come to Auckland, play the toughest venue in the country and win, blood, glass and all...I’ve written about it before so that’ll do…you had to be there and I’m glad I was…I think…
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions …Hammersmith Palais, late 1984…(almost) the last dates on the final Attractions tour. The encore was twice the length of the actual show, it just kept on going on and on…I missed the last train, had no money for a cab all that way, and walked to West Hampstead afterwards, fueled by lager and kebabs.
  • Lou Reed…The Auckland Town Hall, 1977…as I said earlier I went to an earlier show, around the time of Rock’n’Roll Animal, at His Majesty’s Theatre but I smuggled myself into this one in the company of Graham Brazier and Johnny Volume and I can’t think of two more appropriate people to go to see Lou with. It was the Street Legal tour I think. Johnny actually owned his old Les Paul Junior…the one he’d used with the Velvets, but sold in Auckland some years earlier for drugs. We tried to get it signed but Lou told us to fuck off…literally…he even called John an arsehole. We were happy with that. A year after John got drunk, dropped it and it was rooted forever. C’est le rock’n’roll…..
  • Billy Bragg….The Galaxy, Auckland, 1987….I sat in the VIP box with David Lange, various assorted celebrities and the like. A thoroughly wonderful gig, with Billy making a point of celebrating NZ’s anti Nuke stance, of course. But what really made the gig was the fact that I was sitting outside close to the dressing room door, with venue owner, Phil Warren and we proceeded to drink poor Bill’s beer rider. We were both legless, loved the gig and left him with a single Steinlager.
  • Roxy MusicAuckland Town Hall, 1975…god my memories of this are vague..I remember Eddie Jobson’s neon violin and a huge swirling noise going around. Like The Beach Boys, I was well toasted on various things, but it had an enormous effect on me. It destroyed any flirtation I’d had with the proggy stuff, and focused me more on a path which, happily, eventually led me to punk and the like…and I got into the after party….Beech supported, I remember that….
  • Hello Sailor….multiple times, Globe Hotel, Auckland, 1975/6…I really used to like early Hello Sailor, and it was part of that post Roxy thing I mentioned above. In the pre-punk days in Auckland they were about as real as it got. Standing right beside the tiny stage in the packed Globe…and I mean so packed you couldn’t breath…watching Graham and co grinding out Waiting for My Man (he meant it too) or sleazing through their take on Rum and Coca Cola was something else. And I’ve told them that countless times…
  • Nathan Haines & The Enforcers….Cause Celebre, Auckland, most Friday and Saturday nights 1992/94…they were, technically, supposed to come on about midnight but inevitably it was 1am or two, until 5 or so. Packed, smokey, incredibly hot, inspirational, chaotic…the band spilled into the crowd, the crowd spilled into the band, and some of the finest musicians in New Zealand played and improvised….words still fail me
  • John Cale…..The Windsor Castle, Auckland, 1986?....I was strolling down Parnell Road and heard a piano playing. I looked into bar to see two people…promoter Doug Hood and Cale, solo, sound checking and rehearsing solo at the piano on stage. I sat, drank beer with Doug and watched a large part of the Velvet Underground perform a set for the two of us.
  • James BrownMelbourne 1988…simply because during the support set by the atrocious Rockmelons, James looked out from between the stacks. The crowd saw him and went a bit crazy…Murray Cammick, whom I was there with, waved at him and then turned to me and said…he waved back…I liked that…oh, and the fact that Maceo came into the crowd, stood beside me and played Soul Power’s saxtramental bit…
  • Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five….Victoria London, 1982…men dressed as Buffalo or other ludicrous costumes on stage, telling everyone to go “ho!”, some guy making outrageous noises with two records, and the long intro to some, as yet unreleased tune called White Lines, as my friend Marc Baron (RIP) and myself had just returned from partaking in something similar. It was a long time ago…
  • David Bowie…Western Springs, 1978….it was the day of my Dad’s 50th…..Dad, I said, I love you but its Bowie….and so it was. As the sun went down, the neon strips behind came on, and the opening train noises from Station to Station moved from left to right. My flatmate, Sandra, got pulled out of the crowd by David’s security and didn’t emerge from his Mon Desir Hotel for three days. The polaroids were around our flat for months…
  • New Order…Mainstreet, Auckland 1982..the gig was perfect, it was their time in the sun, but what I most remember was, at the party, someone asking the band where Ian was…they’d heard he wouldn’t be seen dead hanging around with them…. Harry?.....24 years later, maybe, just maybe, I can repeat that one….
  • The Features and The Sobs…The Reverb Room, Auckland, 1980…The Sobs were a funny band. I saw them a couple of times. From memory, and I could be wrong, Gary Hunt from The Terrorways was on drums, and I know Hamish Kilgour was on vocals in one of those in-between The Clean periods. Anyway, they were power-pop and, considering their time together, very polished. The Features on the other hand were one of NZ’s greatest live acts….ever… beautifully anarchic and I recall Karel on his knees during Secret (he wasn’t pleading, he was exhausted) and Jed down to a single unbroken string…it sounds terrible but it wasn’t…refusing to change and still being able to extract something absolutely mesmerising from it.
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads….Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1984….It was the reunion gig…I went with Greg Carroll on U2 freebies. We only saw one song…Sweet Gene Vincent…and then went to a local pub for a few hours. It was the last time I saw Greg…
  • The Birthday Party / Dead Can Dance…Bombay Rock, Melbourne, 1981…hometown for the BP, Nick Cave on stage looking like Jesus Christ to the crowd, and in the next room, very early DCD, although only half way through Brendan’s transformation from Ronnie Recent and the Marching Girls. Des was on drums and they still sounded like a pop band. Johnny Volume was unconscious on the floor.
  • Suburban Reptiles / Scavengers / Junk…Disco D’Dora’s, Newton Road, Auckland, May 1977….confused looking disco kids (it was an old disco and the mirror ball was still turning) and a bunch of young first time fans (Kerry Buchanan and crew) who would soon form a band called Rooter which mutated into The Terrorways. Des Edwards, the drummer from Junk, was a butcher by trade, and half way through their set he pulled a large slab of meat out of his trousers and plonked it on his snare to some effect. It then went around the room.
  • Ice T…..The Siren, 1989…in the room that became the Box, for three nights, with only 200 tickets per night. On the first night T (Tracy to his mom) asked for champagne which we provided. He then got his scantily clad wife, Darlene (as per the cover of his Power album) to spray it over the crowd. The next night he got Chardon. Four years later, as Flavor Flav djed in The Box, a drunk Ice T lay on the floor of the closed Cause Celebre, and microphone in hand, treated us to renditions of My Funny Valentine and Summertime.

And some duds….

  • Deep Purple….Western Springs, 197?....I won the tickets on a radio station and left 15 minutes into Tommy Bolin’s solo in Smoke on the Wate
  • Jethro Tull….Civic Theatre, Auckland…..a wooden dog, a flute playing man on one leg who thought it was funny to drop his trousers …the things you do to keep girlfriends happy
  • The Anti Violence Gig….XS Café, Auckland, 1980….somebody thought this would be a good idea….back, 26 years ago, the AK live scene was plagued with violence, mostly wrought by the skinhead and boot girl (who were often worse) element that tagged itself onto punk. I can’t recall who played, I know The Features and Shoes This High did, but it almost didn’t matter. It was perhaps the most violent thing I’ve ever seen. As skinheads beat anyone they could, including members of the bands who were dragged off stage, club owner, Bryan Staff, stood in the corner taking photographs (there is one inside the AK79 CD sleeve) saying there was little he could do but wait for the police. Before they arrived the Ponsonby gang, The King Cobras arrived and it moved into the street. The third gang, the Police then turned up and beat anyone still standing into a pulp. A week later the same venue hosted the Toy Love album release party. There were only about twenty of us there but Mike Dooley announced that they were going to split after the tour and it seemed clear that the party that had started in 1977 was over.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

can't you see / its a game that's laid on your brothers / by some others

After the fracas in New Zealand politics in recent months, Alexander Downer’s incredible toadying act this week (the photograph at the link is amazing and deserves a new caption...I just can’t think of one right now), and all the nonsense of the recent past in the US of A, I still find myself surprised how deluded those in positions of power are. And that still surprises me. I guess I still have an implicit, subconscious belief, driven into me as a boy at primary school in the sixties, by the media, the education system, with its raising of the flag every AM, and the generations that preceded mine, in the judgement and righteous intentions of those that lead us or those that are chosen by our elected officials to lead us. Vietnam killed that of course, oh, and Watergate. But, for my generation the germ of that idea is still there somewhere in the back of our minds.

My grandfather, a Maori Land Court Judge, was a good man, who’d fought in Italy and North Africa, had a Toby Jug of Monty on his mantelpiece…my parents have it now in a slightly less prominent position. He believed in the same general goodness that inspired the United Nations and tagged Mr Holyoake “Kiwi Keith”. I stood and watched LBJ drive through Wellington (my dad was the NZ Military Liaison on the trip, and I even managed a tour, at Ohakea, through Air Force One) when he was here to thank Kiwi Keith for pushing our young lads into harm’s way to prevent that damned, inevitable domino effect if the commies ever took Saigon. I was young and I waved a flag.

So forward thirty or forty years and nothing changes, except that we expect, if we think about it clearly, that our leaders, and those who lead our ‘free world’, will lie to us, as often as not, not because they want to, but simply because they are utterly deluded. The world they inhabit is a fantasy. If one needs any real evidence of this delusion, witness Tommy Frank’s quite bizarre new project The General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum. This, from a man who failed to pursue Osama when he had the chance, and made, whether you agree with it or not, an absolute dogs breakfast of the US invasion of Iraq. A man who famously once said, implying that he, as a General, was probably better suited to being a Corporal:

"No one was more surprised than I that we didn't find (WMD's)”.

Look, you can contribute to his institute if you want, unless you’re one of those dead-enders of course….Quick, give this man a Toby Jug contract and tell him to go where all old (failed) soldiers go….

Then we have the most deluded man on the planet, apart, perhaps from those that still buy into the simpleton approach and the stream utter garbage that dribbles daily from his mouth and that of his spokesperson. I give you The Leader of the Free World. The leader, who was once in such a hurry to invade Iraq, so much so that he couldn’t wait for any resolution to the issue that didn’t involve an invasion.

Now of course, on a day that another 55 deaths, that we know of, are announced in the Baghdad area, he is willing to wait until he offers any solutions. Perhaps until after his upcoming holiday, or because he is, wait for it, this is incredible, to quote an administration official :

"factoring in the college football championship game on January 8 in its determination of scheduling. “

There is, of course no hurry because the enemy is far from being defeated. The again when you have people like Tommy Franks and Alexander Downer rooting for your side, you don’t have a lot to worry about. There have been plenty of people over the years that have asserted that Bush is not some deluded idiot, but rather a rather crafty tactician. The evidence right now would suggest otherwise.