Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Undue influence

In 1976 No one died
In 1977 No One Died
In 1978 Someone died
In 1979 No one died
In 1980 No One Died
In 1981 We had that incident with the pigeon
In 1982 No One died
In 1983 No One Died
In 1984 No one died in 1985
I could go on you know....

These lines will make no sense to most, for those of you who have seen The Day Today the comedy show that was the cornerstone of so many brilliant UK comedies and comedians since its inception should, I hope, be laughing about now.

I first came across the show whilst living in London, I stumbled upon it one night after a very heavy drinking session and thought it was the real news... I got confused and didn't understand. My flatmates were rolling around the floor and I was scratching my head prior to passing out.

The next week I was well primed (yeah more beer) and became a devout fan, so much so that when I finally had to leave the UK to return home I was rushing around London frantically looking for the video's of the show which had just been released to buy and bring home with me. I doubt theres any of my close friends I haven't forced at some point to watch the shows with me, poor sods :) I still watch them from time to time and they never fail to have me in fits of laughter.

For a show that never screened here you'd be amazed at how much of a impact its had on our screens, well from certain quarters that is. Newsboy, Havoc and anything with a few key behind the scenes people has elements of this groundbreaking show liberally scattered throughout.

Me I'm a sucker for good comedy, of which there is so much yet still so little that truely stands the test of time and keeps funny bone rattling.

Now here's Alan with the sport...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Spam can be profound

I read spam - now before some smart alec suggests anything, I do need to get out more....

Yesterday I came across some lines in a spam email found in my junk folder that I simply cannot workout the connection between me buying some product to enhance my penis size and the comments tacked onto the end of the email.

Here's the comments:

Not even computers will replace committees, because committees buy computers.
Every government is run by liars. Nothing they say should be believed.
To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words.
No one finds life worth living; he must make it worth living.
Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

Perhaps having a bigger dick will make me cleverer...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Long & The Short Of It

Monday 2-4

Strawpeople - The Slide (EMI) 1991
Max B - Bananaticoco (Ashley Beedle "King Choclate" re edit) (Strut) 2000
Mr Scruff - Sweetsmoke (Ashley Beedle's Street boogie rmx) (Ninja Tune) 2003
Mark Stewart & The Mafia - This Is Stranger than Love (Mute) 1987
Tricky Disco - Tricky Disco (Warp) 1990
Leftfield/Lydon - Open Up (Hard Hands) 1993
Ladycop - To Be Real (FRRR) 1996
Q bass - Hardcore Will Never Die (E Type Version) (Suburban Bass) 1991
M&M - Don't Stand In My Way (Suburban Bass) 1991
Phuture Assassins - Roots 'n' Future (Reflections In Dub) (Suburban Bass) 1993
United Eye - Ska East Of The West (Afro Art) 2000
The Freaks - Whats The Point (MFF) 2003
Eclat - I Don't laaaa (Select) 2005
Robbie hardkiss - Everythings Changing (B's Bounce Move vs D's DHQ edit) (Classic) 2004
Wah Syndicate - Now That We've Found Love (Lil Mark rmx) (Nepenta) 2005
The Winstons - Amen, Brother (Holy Bee/Strut) 2001
The Incredible Bongo Band - Apache (Sturt) 2002

Best taken with absinthe and ice

You’re not from round here are you boy

I spend far too much time focusing my attention on current affairs, nothing wrong with that, yet my focus is affairs from other lands more often than not and this morning I feel its time I looked at my own back yard, more than I do or at least more than I have typed to date.

To many outsiders New Zealand may possibly look like a paradise, for we enjoy a life and lifestyle so many can only dream of. We like to call our corner of the world, godzone – we really are that, um, smug.

Yet anyone who spends more than 30 seconds looking at our fair little land will soon come across many signs that alls not right or as it could/should be. If we could implement policy as well as we promote our clean green image we’d be doing a lot better than we are…

I decided it was time to look closer to home after reading a article on domestic USA about Thanksgiving – something I only really know about here, cause of all the thanksgiving specials we eventually see on US Sit Coms etc. I’ve seen over the course of my TV life.

I’m representing the entire article here, as I really think it is worth reading and I can’t be arsed only providing a link – for the curious I grabbed it from Znet which has a link on the sidebar.

Thanksgiving and more Taking
by Norman Solomon

“When Thanksgiving arrives, the media coverage is mostly predictable. Feature stories tell of turkeys and food drives for the needy. We hear about why some people, famous and unknown, say they feel thankful. And, of course, holiday advertising campaigns launch via TV, radio and print outlets.

Like our own responses to Thanksgiving, the repeated media messages are apt to be contradictory. Answers to basic questions run the gamut: How much time and money should we spend on the holiday dinner compared to helping the less fortunate? Is this really the time to count our blessings -- or yield to ads that tell us how satisfied we'll be after buying the latest brand-new products and services?

Under the surface, some familiar media themes are at cross purposes this time of year. Holiday celebrations that speak to the need for compassion and spiritual connection are frequently marked by efforts and expenditures that point in opposite directions. Within the media echo chambers, a lot of the wallpaper is the color of money.

In its unadorned state, the idea of being thankful is on a collision course with "Thanksgiving" the commercialized media phenomenon. To explore the genuine realms of giving thanks is to pause and mull over good fortune -- dwelling on it while hopefully mustering at least a bit of humility and gratitude for life along the way. But the prevalent emphasis on goodies for dinner-table consumption and the big-hype kickoff of the holiday buying season are media cues with widespread effects.

As a practical matter, in the media world, late November brings a ritualized frenzy that makes cash registers ring (or whatever they do these digital days). Anyone who takes thanksgiving seriously as a potential activity for reflection is likely to sense a disconnect with profuse media content that seems to be unclear on the concept.

Whether seen in religious or humanist terms, the deeper approaches to "giving thanks" are distant from what has become the expected from mass media this time of year. Actual thanksgiving might bring the recognition that many people have at least all they really need -- and are damn lucky, too, given the circumstances of many human lives on this planet. In contrast, a wide array of media messaging tells us that we don't have what we need -- and if we can just spend money the right way, we'll get it.

Television commercials are constantly making the case that we should not -- must not -- be content with what we have. And the ads offer innumerable ways that spending money can remedy the situation. In that sense, much of media keeps stoking the hot coals of unthankfulness -- dismissing what we already have as woefully insufficient.

It's easy enough for media outlets to supply something for everyone at Thanksgiving time. We can choose to focus on replicas of some heartfelt sincerity along with facile sentimentality in news coverage. There are plenty of human-interest stories and recipes, plus the obligatory tales of gobblers that encounter or evade the guillotine. But overall, the commercialism pegged to Thanksgiving provides the most powerful undercurrents for the holiday.

Meanwhile, the barrage of publicized attention to Thanksgiving gives very short shrift to the original Thanksgiving. Newly arrived settlers in their new world, we've been told, gratefully received help from savvy Indians who generously shared their food and knowledge of how to prepare for the oncoming winter. And that oft-neglected story, in turn, is rarely examined as a parable for how Europeans who arrived in North America several centuries ago were glad to take from native people -- and then proceeded to plunder and kill with a zeal that became genocidal.

Today, some people have bountiful tables while others have very little. On the rhetorical surface, Thanksgiving marks a time of appreciation. But meanwhile, most of all, media outlets encourage us to buy -- and forget.”

As said we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here (yet…) and I am trying to present a more Kiwi specific perspective here, today. This article when applied to the Christmas session that is upon us, rings true as it does for my American friends who have just celebrated this holiday and are also marching towards a time of Santa.

I stumbled upon a documentary yesterday as I was procrastinating about what to do with my day, I can’t find any information about it, unfortunately and I do hope I stumble upon it again. It was called Born In 1984, a look at modern New Zealand and how our society is changing and has changed, from the viewpoint and focusing on those born in 84 (surprising that bit eh). I can’t find anything about it online and I’m damn grumpy as I’ve just been to that gawdaweful thing TVNZ calls a website and couldn’t find a thing… agh I feel dirty.

If anyone gets a chance it’s a damn fine documentary, gives some sobering insights into the pressures our younger generation face and the way money is such a huge part of their life and lifestyle, way more than in my day. There were enough sobering facts and commentary gleaned from researchers and experts which in itself is sobering stuff but what I enjoyed and appreciated the most was how the facts were presented alongside the less tangible comments by the youngsters interviewed, both sides of the coin so to speak. A mixed bunch of youths were interviewed and I must say what a startling bunch they were, articulate and aware of their world in a way I very much doubt I was at a similar age, with the right values and guidance I am sure we could be as a nation that which we pretend we are, things ain’t all chipper downunder but nothing is lost yet.

The after effects of the various economic reforms of the past twenty years have added to our poverty rates and pushed more of my country people into bloody grim circumstances, situations that whilst not new or that much different from most other nations, for me its always a shock to see how much our once world beating Social Welfare state and lifestyle has been beaten to pieces and continues to be eroded. For a nation our size we can so easily do better.

I’m sick of multi national corporations taking advantage of us and shipping the proceeds offshore – current example at least 500 million heading back to Vodaphone HQ – which is a huge figure in our little pond. Only compounded by the fact we pay some of the highest Telco charges in the world… I don’t begrudge profits to them that earn em, but in the Telco game there is virtually no competition and the two big guys are creaming off so much of our wealth to their parent companies… Here I do believe its time the government stepped in and protected us the people from the blatant profiteering going on, which coming back to the Documentary is a good example. All but one of the youngsters interviewed spent inordinate amounts of their own money on phones and call charges, most of them worked long hours each week to be able to afford the damn things when I believe they should be getting up to mischief and doing that education lark.

Enter the “in my day” statements from a man stuck in his rocking chair….

The other sobering things I gained from my documentary distraction was the increased poverty rates, the continued and increasing levels of domestic violence, the increase in youth suicides and all them other grim and depressing realities that we Kiwis often tend to overlook or simply ignore.

I do hope I stumble on this doco again, as I am sure it’ll be repeated in some anti social timeslot, which is often when I’m viewing as I missed the beginning and I so could do with a repeat.

We can as a nation do so much better; we have fewer barriers than most to having a standard of living that benefits us all. Let’s stop focusing on them with it all and spend more time thinking and doing for them that deserve so much more.

I believe as a nation we can afford to provide more help and assistance to them that need it, empowerment is a worthy and rewarding avenue that will benefit us all.

We need to find that balance between capitalism and socialism that benefits all and ignores none. Time to emulate our sportspeople we hold so dear and lift our game, collectively.

On a bright note to finish – for them that dig our national games (not me) how good must your weekend have been… imagine if you could apply that amazing high you must all be feeling right now to every aspect of our nation.

yep go the kiwis...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bush V Al-Jazeera: Fact or Fancy?

"The internet is abuzz over a leaked memo quoted yesterday by the London Mirror alleging that President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he "planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar," according to a transcript of an April 16, 2004 conversation between the two at the White House. The Mirror reported that Bush was "talked out of it" by Blair. "

A very good read on this topic, especially the Timelines, cheers Asylum.

Also of note is John Pilger's article regarding the media and the recent WP allegations and other stories on Fallujah.

"The Indian writer Vandana Shiva has called for an "insurrection of subjugated knowledge". The insurrection is well under way. In trying to make sense of a dangerous world, millions of people are turning away from the traditional sources of news and information and to the world wide web, convinced that mainstream journalism is the voice of rampant power. The great scandal of Iraq has accelerated this. In the United States, several senior broadcasters have confessed that had they challenged and exposed the lies told about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, instead of amplifying and justifying them, the invasion might not have happened. "

as ever, get the peas out,

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Your Press Pass is now revoked, permanently

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.


Al-Jazeera infuriated Washington and London by reporting from behind rebel lines and broadcasting pictures of dead soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi victims.

The station, watched by millions, has also been used by bin Laden and al-Qaeda to broadcast atrocities and to threaten the West.

Al-Jazeera's HQ is in the business district of Qatar's capital, Doha. Its single-storey buildings would have made an easy target for bombers. As it is sited away from residential areas, and more than 10 miles from the US's desert base in Qatar, there would have been no danger of "collateral damage".

Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists.

To have wiped them out would have been equivalent to bombing the BBC in London and the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq War itself.

The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.


and this from a very good article I reckon, worth reading the whole thing

Wars are always dirty. Those engaged in war seldom admit the truth about the brutal means they are using. Those conducting an unpopular occupation are tempted to use all possible means to suppress those who resist occupation. The press, to the degree that it functions as an independent force, serves as one factor providing disincentives to the use of the most barbarous techniques available. Given the extent to which the American corporate press has often echoed obviously false US claims long after their absurdity became apparent, the international press like Al-Jazeera plays a critical role in limiting US brutality. By suppressing the press in Iraq, the US has increased its ability to kill with impunity. Evidence that many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died at US hands suggest that the US has actively seized the opportunity.
I dunno, so much I could and would like to say, however this is one of many instances where I believe its better to research this for yourself, as there’s way better writers and better informed commentators than me to put this in perspective. Make up your own minds.

I will say - if correct and let’s face it when discussing the Bush Administration and allegations against it, more often than not (unfortunately), these stories tend to be correct and over time are proven so. If correct it’s high time the sane nations of the world collectively made George W and his henchmen accountable for the crimes against humanity they most certainly are in my mind guilty of.

To my American friends, your nation and the people of this planet deserve better than what you and we are currently being served via the Whitehouse.

I expect little from some of our planets leaders, yet from the USA I expect nothing less than what their Constitution promotes and promises, my country is too small to have any large impact on global affairs, the US could so very easily make this planet a better place for all – lets never forget this simple premise, for it is a very noble one.

Yeah I’m an idealist, shoot me….

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Germans and Ladies

Today is White Ribbon Day – the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

The idea is for men to put up their hand and say they will no longer tolerate that type of behaviour.

It came about because a group of Canadian men back in 1991 decided it was time for community responsibility for ending violence in personal relationships.


Bob puts his hand up

Nice one Germany, congratulations on your first woman Chancellor!

This shouldn’t be a big deal in the western world at least, you know equality and all that action, yet it still is.

There's so much happening in the world right now, yet here our media are heading into that period where they serve us lots of nice positive human interest stories so as not to bum us out over Christmas.... come on I think we can handle it - well as long as the All Blacks win

Anyone else but me hate the way the All Blacks are increasingly being called the AB's? I don't even like rugby but this continual abbreviated world is a real bug bear of mine, theres a time and place people in this instance and so many others its just plain lazy and stupid.

The war on the English language continues

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bob's acting debut

Woken at 3am by the telephone ringing, damn my ring tone - Gilligan’s Island for the curious... I think its funny but not at 3am.

It was my agent, I didn't even know I had one but then I guess we all do. I must admit I'm no actor but when fame and fortune calls who am I to say no.

Bummer its for a show I don't even like much, purile humour is all fine and good but I always saw myself as a tad more serious actor type than a mere extra wearing a silly hat. Not that the hat in question was silly, more I look silly in hats.

I had a huge argument with the stylist - wot no shorts... farkers.... didn’t really like the T Shirt much either - still better than a Che Guevara shirt I guess.

Not sure when my small but very important and serious role will air, if at all as I did make an arse of myself on set. I drunk all the beer and yelled at some stupid boy who ended up spontaneously combusting, the dick.

I thought that would have been cool if caught on camera, but alas the camera guy was shagging some extra in a campervan... bloody amateurs…. I tried to complain to my agent but they’ve stopped answering my calls…

I didn’t even get a line to say, shucks

anyway here's a shot of me on set

Wonder if I'll get paid?

I believe they are still looking for extras to pad out the episode, if you feel you're up for a bit of acting, go here for your costume.

I think this acting lark has a hold on me....

Anyone got Matt Groening's number?

Anyone know a decent agent?


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Festival Mushroom Records (FMR)

26 Oct 05
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA: Ed St John, President and CEO, Warner Music Australasia, today announced the acquisition of Festival Mushroom Records (Australia and New Zealand).

Festival Mushroom Records was formed by News Ltd from the amalgamation of the operations of Festival Records Pty Ltd, Mushroom Records Pty Ltd and Mushroom Distribution Services (MDS). Festival Records has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since 1952.
Old news now, but something I've been trying to write about for a while, words don't easily come sometimes, if ever in my case.

Business and music have a funny old relationship – on one side sits a creative medium, an art form if you will, on the other is the black and white world of shareholders, balance sheets and the other considerations a business person understands and digs.

The music industry is a world where business and art does not sit happily, well perhaps unless it’s a very profitable co-existence and more often than in our modern world the music producing those profits is never going to be accused of being art, well not by me anyway. So when art and commerce collide as they must in our capitalist world, there will always be an uneasy relationship, between profit and artistic merit, or at least there should be.

The sale of FMR to Warner Music isn’t news to some and due to the time its taken me to finish this entry its old news fullstop. FMR had been on the market for a long time. I guess it’s a relief for some that finally a sale has been reached and the logical company to buy it has been for sometime, Warner Music. As the two companies have had a very solid relationship/partnership in Australia for sometime. I guess the sticking point all this time was price and maybe to a lesser degree timing.

There has been some news and information in the public domain about the merger and since the offshoot of that, the redundancy of the majority of FMR New Zealand staff – I assume the staff in Australia have the same thing happening, but I am only concerned and interested with the New Zealand office, for pretty simplistic reasons – I worked there for a period and it is with this in mind that I try to explain my feelings/thoughts in what is a awkward subject for me. I could distance myself from the actualities and emotional attachments I have by dealing with the business side, but numbers and the influence they have over people isn’t very interesting, well to me at least and particularly in this instance.

I’m more concerned about those I shared office space and time with. My time at FMR was some of the happiest in any workplace I ever had, which is saying a hell of a lot. For a multitude of reasons, I dug what I did and felt I made a difference to the musical landscape here, which is very self serving and no doubt ego driven and I hope at the least slightly accurate. Yet more than this, the largest reason I look back on my time there with such fond memories is the people of FMR, past and present.

FMR was an amalgamation of three separate NZ companies, Mushroom Records, Festival and my home at the time Flying Nun Records. Three very different companies with common ownership (Newscorp) that brought together a very talented team of people, a very mixed bunch too I might add. More freaks than professionals, maybe...

In the initial days of amalgamation three separate and different groups of people were brought into the fold and had to learn to work together and live together during working hours. The initial days and weeks were very strange as we got to know each other and were molded into a team by management – something they accomplished amazingly well considering the plonkers like me they had inherited. For all the growing pains we went though it was also such an exciting period too.

For any aspiring big management kind of type I suggest strongly that a well stocked and open beer fridge and pool table can really make a huge contribution to group relations…. Well in the music biz, at least. Oh the many happy hours of discussion, debate, hatching of dreams and drinking that took place around that pool table and the many slow and sluggish mornings that were had a as result.

Now beer and pool is all good now add the people - a more diverse and amazingly cool bunch I have never had the pleasure of working with before. Don’t get me wrong I’ve worked with some wickedly cool people in my time - I am a very lucky chap on that front, yet in most instances the groups I’ve worked with have been very similar, at FMR we were not. Whilst we shared many values and other things we most certainly didn’t all view the world through the same lenses. Perhaps this is what made FMR here the company it was, I'd like to think so.

Many of the team that was grouped together in the early days of FMR have gone onto other things however a significant number remained and remain for a tiny while longer. Of these people I can’t think of one I don’t respect for their passion and commitment to their job and their loyalty to the company, there’s not one I wouldn’t happily share a beer or two with and there’s not one I can think of who won’t be feeling very low right now.

Since the news I’ve been flooded with so many memories of my time there, filled with the faces of my then co-workers, funny stories spring to mind at a rate of knots. We had a hell of a lot of fun. We worked hard too, there were the obligatory growing pains, the office politics the ego clashes and all the other muck one expects in a workplace, yet when push came to shove we were all in it together and the team spirit of the place was a truly beautiful thing and credit to the freedoms given and manner in which the management team brought us together.

I personally learnt a hell of a lot. About the music industry and machinations of the biz at a level I hadn’t been witness to prior to my time at FMR as well as about a million other things, I also learnt a lot about myself – not all good I am afraid to say. I wish I could be more objective about the news, but alas I can’t due to the emotional attachment I feel to the people and to a much lesser degree the company.

Having left FMR some four years ago at a tough time for the industry, I have watched from the sidelines the company and thus people go through some tough times, times they got through and they went on to cement themselves as one of the most positive contributors to our musical landscape that NZ has seen for many a year.

The legacy that FMR leaves isn’t something that I feel any but a very few will ever realise nor understand. For its more than simply business, which it of course is yet this also effects music and thus art. I fear and know that many of the people effected will most probably not find similar roles or possibly roles within the music industry full stop – for it most certainly isn’t a growth period right now and as the majors continue to merge, rationalise and contract there are fewer opportunities for employment for anyone. The Independent sector whilst growing steadily isn’t a area that employs many other than those who have a ownership stake in the various companies and in the short term at least this will continue, for there simply isn’t the returns and thus profit for the sort of expansion that can accommodate additional full time employees.

So the passion and knowledge many of my friends have gained over their careers and lifetimes may be lost to the music industry, some of the skills are easily replaced, the passion and less tangible assets cannot.

On top of the direct casualties of the merger are the artists that FMR and its in-house labels represented and the back catalogue that they own, most particularly for me those of Flying Nun. In the big boots world of Warners the majority of these NZ artists FMR represents wouldn’t merit anyone’s time at a proper boardroom level as they are not the thing that produces the sorts of profits that the bigwigs could even lunch on for long, if at all.

So with all this crap floating around me head, I’m off tomorrow afternoon to share a few cold ones with the staff of FMR, to celebrate their successes and bid bon voyage to a small and significant contributor to mine and many others music collections.

I’m proud of the time I spent under the FMR umbrella and them that finish there soon can be too, big time!!!!

A damn fine bunch of people and company, whose legacy in our industry will not be repeated, at least not in the industries present form.

to the staff, the artists and all associated parties I say,


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

You may be here..

Kia ora, welcome, hello, hi, gidday

to my visitors

them I know and those I have yet to meet

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Long & The Short Of It

Monday 2-4

Sigur Ros - Sven-g-Englar (Fat Cat) 2000
Kelly Polar - Cosmological Constancy (Environ) 2005
Nuyorican Soul - Nervious track (Yellow mx) (Nervous) 1993
Tuff Little Unit - Join The Future (Warp) 1991
Ladycop - To Be Real (FRRR) 1996
Le Hammond Inferno feat Tolcha - Street Vibes (CDR) 2005
I-F - Disko SLique (instrumental0 (Disko B) 1998
Judith Juillerat - Mes Nuits (Shitkatapult) 2005
Tomorrowpeople - That Lange Track (CDR) 2005
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes (annlation) (ZTT) 1984
Crass - Fight War Not Wars (Crass) 1977
Jesse Saunders - Yeah (Capirinha Music) 1998
Stacy Kidd - Disco mania pt 2 (Red Hot) 2005
Puppetmastaz - Do the Swamp (Louisville) 2005
Justin martin & Sammy D - Swamp Thing (Dirtybird) 2005
Switch - A Bit Patchy (Dubsided) 2005
Fernanda Porto - Sambaissm (V Recordings) 2001
PFM feat MC Conrad - The Western (Goodlooking) 2000
Justin Harris - Nasty (shhhhh) 2005

Best taken with old man and silly hats

Have we learnt anything in the past sixty years?

Germany marked the 60th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trials on Sunday with a ceremony in the oak-panelled courtroom where World War Two allies came together to prosecute Nazi leaders.

The United States was the driving force behind the groundbreaking trials, which set standards for holding government leaders accountable for human rights abuses and war crimes. Its legacy reverberates in international human rights law today


The tribunal, which laid the ground for later war crimes trials and the International Criminal Court, rejected then and forever the argument of people accused of war crimes that they were "just following orders".

It established genocide as a recognised crime and it also defined the planning, preparing, initiating and waging wars of aggression as a crime, although it provided no definition of aggression.

For a overview of the trials and tribunal go here

What have we learnt in the past sixty years?

Not much of merit it seems

Repeats currently screening on all channels

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Being Single - reason # 3475-1

So I'm in a bar...

and I strike up a conversation with a lovely lady

She asks me what I read

I reply "spam"

She stands up and moves to the opposite side of the bar

Was it something I said?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Time of madmen

“Madmen govern our affairs in the name of order and security. The chief madmen claim the titles of general, admiral, senator, scientist, administrator, Secretary of State, even President.”

American sociologist Lewis Mumford, writing soon after the dawn of the nuclear age

I came of age during the cold war, a grim period in world affairs. Like many I expected my time to end here by way of nuclear war. Not a positive way to see the future or ones place in it. Those like me who also shared my feelings of impeding doom did not stop living nor dreaming of better times, if anything the threat of death by button pushers helped shape our world view and gave us a weird sense of positivism.

As I and my generation aged disgracefully and slowly the Cold War came to a close and the threat of all out war between the Soviet Block and the West ceased to exist. The end game was off.

It was with a profound sense of joy that I witnessed the generation below me come of age without the same sense of foreboding that the bomb produced in me and my peers. They inherited a better safer world, I thought, and to varying degrees they still do.

Yet still we can’t proclaim peace in our time.

Last night I found myself surrounded by friends at the Grey Lynn RSA, sampling a few cold ones. It was my first time there and it had been many a year since I last stepped into a RSA – that last time my friends and I were thrown out for causing a disruption and rightly so, last night was a much more civil affair, perhaps I am growing up after all.

At 6:00pm the lights were turned off for a moment and silence descended on the room. The fourth stanza of Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ was read with all joining in for the last two lines.

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
I’m a sucker for this particular poem and readily admit that the thought of them that have fallen in times of war always fills me with a profound patriotic pride in being a kiwi. Hearing this poem in such a setting was, um, special. Damn my eyes I can’t think of a more appropriate term.

On getting up this morning, slowly I might add – a few beers do that to ya, I am now doing my morning rounds of catching up on my current affairs reading coupled with a quick trawl through the various, mainly music, forums and blogs I frequent. On my travels I came across a piece of music I had yet to hear which given my current thoughts is very fitting. Its recorded by a friend of mine and was commissioned for The Great Blend.

'Nuclear Weapons Are Morally Indefensible', is a derivative work incorporating audio from the recording of David Lange's speech in the 1985 Oxford Union debate, arguing in favour of the motion that "Nuclear Weapons Are Morally Indefensible."

The speech is used with the permission of David Lange, Margaret Pope and Television New Zealand. The music was composed and produced by Andrew B. White, aka Tomorrowpeople.

I have a copy of the track somewhere in the postal system at the moment; I hope very much it arrives in time for my show on Monday, for I am intending to build my show around it.

Whilst I listen to this online I am reading an article about the ongoing nuclear race and tensions between Pakistan and India which is on the whole quite depressing – you idiots, the bomb is not a weapon of peace…

I’ve also been following the renewed look at the Siege of Fallujah with regards to the use of white phosphorus as a weapon.

White phosphorus when used as a weapon as alleged contravenes the Convention on Conventional Weapons which in 1980 banned the use of incendiary devices, like white phosphorous, in heavily populated areas.

Of course America did not sign the agreement, though that alone does not condone nor make their actions right if these allegations are correct and as ever the world is watching a world that increasingly distrusts the US propaganda machine and rightfully so considering the many untruths uncovered with regards to the War in Iraq and the War on Terror and it seems just about every statement made by the current regime in the Whitehouse.

With regards to Fallujah, the question is I feel, was the area targeted heavily populated? And if so was it only by insurgents as the US claims or were civilians present as many others claim. For the use of white phosphorous by US forces is not a crime in itself, if used as an illuminating agent, which it is employed for by every military force in the world. When sued as a weapon not a illuminating agent then one can only see it for what it is, a chemical agent and a bloody horrific one at that. Considering the many reasons for the initial invasion the use of chemical weapons on a civilian population is both illegal and immoral, a way to win hearts and minds this is not.

Now there has been some debate on if the US forces allowed civilians to flee the battle zone, or did they as many allege impede civilian withdrawal from Fallujah. If civilians were denied the right to flee the battle zone that in itself is a crime under Geneva Conventions… Not too even start on the legal and moral obligations a occupying force has to the domestic population of the occupied country.

Damn I’ve gone off on a tangent and now to complicate matters further a bird has just flown inside thus I am typing and trying to tell the bird to get out, which it is trying in vein to do – windows are so not a concept birds have ever really mastered.

Why the hell I am talking to the bird I have no clue, its not like they speak English now is it? I feel a little silly explaining the interior layout of the lounge and the best way for a bird to exit, and why I’m speaking at it in baby talk bewilders me a bit too, should I yell? Best not as I really don’t want a little leaving present on the carpet..

Back on point, so to speak, where was I? Oh yeah, RSA’s, poetry, patriotism, bombs, madmen, chemical weapons, David Lange being put to music. Is there a point to all of this?

Perhaps its this, we come of age, our past shapes us and we strive to be who we are yet at any time the actions of madmen can take all of that away from us, in a flash. A mere pressing of a few buttons and our way of life and world could forever be reduced to ashes. ..

Wahooo bird gone, no deposits on the carpet and I do believe they may just have complimented me on my choice of morning listening… I didn’t know birds dug Nick Cave… or when I managed to learn how to interpret a “cheep”.

...opps, stay on target Bob….

Now no matter what the justification or the intent, the use of force should, I wish, be consigned to the history books, preferably the distant past chapters. So we the living can remember worse times and commemorate and remember those who fell during those times of strife whilst looking ahead without the knowledge that conflict is a part of our day to day existence.

Yet alas we still live in a time of madmen and like my recent bird experience they too employ a language that makes no sense to those of us who dream of peaceful times for all humanity.

I’ve just been taken delivery of a bunch of new music that had been piling up in the ol’ post office box. I am now consuming my last cup of coffee for the morning trying to finsh this rambling post and checking out a wonderful CD of old blues classics from the 1920’s, re-mastered from the original 78 rpm records. The sound is scratchy and filled with all the glorious sounds one associates with old vinyl. I adore old original songs from times gone by, something I have grown into. In my younger days I would have written the disc off as I cared little for the blues.

I’ve learnt to change and grow as a person and embrace musical forms that once I would have ridiculed. If only our resident global madmen could learn to change and embrace each other too.

As ever, give peas a chance

Friday, November 18, 2005

Rugger Bugger

New Zealand has won the rights to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup after convincing the IRB they were a better option than Japan and South Africa.


Being one of them Kiwis who doesn't subscribe to the rugby is god views held be so many I have a sense of impending doom over this news.

Yes it is a significant victory for our national game and a honour to be picked to host this sporting event. It would be very small minded of me to not recognise that our Rugby Union has for a change done something very well, and they have every reason to celebrate.

Now please lets not be smug and arrogent over this..... as that is a particular part of our culture I really do find completely repugnant....

Awww, bugger it, well done!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sorry or is that Sory (TM pending)

The global music giant Sony BMG yesterday announced plans to recall millions of CD's by at least 20 artists - from the crooners Celine Dion and Neil Diamond to the country-rock act Van Zant - because they contain copy restriction software that poses risks to the computers of consumers.

The move, more commonly associated with collapsing baby strollers, exploding batteries, or cars with faulty brakes, is expected to cost the company tens of millions of dollars. Sony BMG said that all CD's containing the software would be removed from retail outlets and that exchanges would be offered to consumers who had bought any of them.

A toll-free number and e-mail message inquiry system will also be set up on the
Sony BMG Web site,

"We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers," the company said in a letter that it said it would post on its Web site, "and are committed to making this situation right." Neither representatives of Sony BMG nor the British company First 4 Internet, which developed the copy protection software, would comment further.

Sony BMG estimated last week that about five million discs - some 49 different titles - had been shipped with the problematic software, and about two million had been sold.

Market research from 2004 has shown that about 30 percent of consumers report obtaining music through the copying and sharing of tracks among friends from legitimately purchased CD's. But the fallout from the aggressive copy protection effort has raised serious questions about how far companies should be permitted to go in seeking to prevent digital piracy.

NY Times

I guess this is a start to Sony BMG making amends for this fiasco. I wonder what attempts to compensate those who have infected PCs thanks to the copy protection software of Sony BMG's will be?

This whole situation is estimated to cost the company tens of millions of dollars. I'd suggest the cost could be vastly more as consumers may just stop legally buying them CDs and instead take a safer illegal route.

For those who are wondering I found a list of some (if not all) of the offending disc's that contain the software

Trey Anastasio, Shine (Columbia)
Celine Dion, On ne Change Pas (Epic)
Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (Columbia)
Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia)
Chris Botti, To Love Again (Columbia)
Van Zant, Get Right with the Man (Columbia)
Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound (Columbia)
The Coral, The Invisible Invasion (Columbia)
Acceptance, Phantoms (Columbia)
Susie Suh, Susie Suh (Epic)
Amerie, Touch (Columbia)
Life of Agony, Broken Valley (Epic)
Horace Silver Quintet, Silver's Blue (Epic Legacy)
Gerry Mulligan, Jeru (Columbia Legacy)
Dexter Gordon, Manhattan Symphonie (Columbia Legacy)
The Bad Plus, Suspicious Activity (Columbia)
The Dead 60s, The Dead 60s (Epic)
Dion, The Essential Dion (Columbia Legacy)
Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten (Epic)
Ricky Martin, Life (Columbia)

Now at the risk of sounding like a complete music snob, (why thank you I am, and a narrow minded one at that), I'd strongly suggest that the release of these discs in the first place is a crime in itself.

There's only one thing left to say, or more to the point, only one pilferred image I took off the interweb to say it all for me

I'm putting this topic to bed now, so to speak, its consumed more than enough of my time and I really should finish off what I was meant to have done this time last week...

...sorry to them waiting on me

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Make that doh, a double please

Okay so a few posts back (Oh Crap...I got it Wrong, Nov 5) I mentioned the copy protection software that SonyBMG had started to ship with new CDs and what a disaster it had been.

Well poor SonyBMG, things on that front have just kept right on going downhill, a PR coup this most certainly is not.

Sony's controversial anti-piracy CD software has been labelled as spyware by Microsoft.

The software giant said a key part of the XCP copy protection system counted as malicious software under the rules it uses to define what Windows should be protected against.

It plans to include detection and removal tools for parts of XCP in its weekly anti-spyware software update.

The news came as Sony BMG suspended production of CDs that use XCP.

BBC if this wasn't enpough to send a shiver down ya average consumers spine, there is even more. Remember this software is designed to protect Sony BMG copywrites, which is understandable. But here the eggs really start piling up on the cheeks as it seems the code used for this charming piece of software has been pirated itself, doh!

Sony's rootkit infringes on software copyrights

Close examination of the rootkit that Sony's audio CDs attack their customers' PCs with has revealed that their malicious software is built on code that infringes on copyright. Indications are that Sony has included the LAME music encoder, which is licensed under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL), which requires that those who use it attribute the original software and publish some of the code they write
to use the library. Sony has done none of this.

This is info is taken from a blog, so treat with caution, it may not be accurate, though consdiering this whole bungled affair one tends to feel it probably is so - link

In a effort to steam the PR disaster this must surely be, Sony BMG have stopped including the software/malware on all new CDs and have gone a step further and created a software fix that will remove the offending malware from your PC...

...and now here comes the double whammy, grab some dohs and scatter liberally around the board room

researchers have found new flaws in a program designed to remove portions of an anti-piracy software included in an unknown number of Sony BMG music CDs.

A patch that Sony issued a week ago when virus writers began taking advantage of the software's file-hiding capabilities actually introduces serious new security risks onto the user's machine, according to research released today by Princeton University computer science professor Edward Felten.

The Sony Web page where users can download the removal patch installs a program that remains on the user's PC even after removal tool has done its job, Felten said. And because of the way the tool is configured, he said, it allows any Web page that the user subsequently visits to download, install and run any code that it likes.

I was speechless when I read this news, and had roughly the same thoughts as Felten expressed in his blog: "That’s about as serious as a security flaw can get."

Washington Post

On a bright note I'm sure this situation will not have any adverse effect on Sony BMG's chief executives getting a healthy annual bonus this year.

Is it any wonder a fucking frog has ruled our singles charts for so long?

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Long & The Short Of It

Monday 2-4

Dub Syndicate - Stoned immaculate (on U Sound) 1991
Colourbox - Looks Like We're Shy One Horse (4AD) 1984
DJ marky & XRS - LK (V Recordings)
The Beat - Hands Off She's mine (Arista) 1980
Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Round (American Music) 2002
Front 242 - Lovely Day (Wax Trax) 1987
Tiga - Do It Don't Stop (PIAS) 2005
Gel Toob - Ride (Gel Toob) 2004
Derrick may - Strings Of Life (Transmat) 1998
Nightmares On Wax - Aftermath (Warp) 1990
Underworld - Dark & Long (Dark Train Mix) (JBO) 1994
Front 242 - Aggressiva Angst (Wax Trax) 1987
Dave Angel - Airbourne (Carl Craigs Drums Suck mix) ((Island) 1996
DJ Sneak - Inside (Magnetic) 2005
Del Costa & Pedro Goya - Metropolis (Rob Mell no easr mx) (MFF) 2005
Bear Who? - Funky City (Dust Traxx) 2005
Josh one - Afterhours (Wally Callerio rmx) (Myutopia) 2005
Cevin Fisher - It's A Good Life (Wonderboy) 2000

Best taken with beer and skittles

Friday, November 11, 2005

Becoming a man

Tuning in a television channel is hardly the sort of thing a good bloke should be concerned about, yet I fear this is the exact sort of task I find a tad daunting. Yep I am so not the quintessential kiwi bloke, mate.

TV’s and video recorders are in my experience, or mind, some of the hardest to work pieces of technology I’ve ever had to live with. Not so much the playback or basics, but you know the tuning of channels and in video land being able to pre programme the machine to record a show at a specific time, without doing it manually.

I find the prospect of tuning in the TV so mind boggling that I simply never do it, over the past decade or more when a telly needed tuning you’d only see my dust. I was outta there, flatmates or small children were always employed for such tasks, I would provide emotional support and perhaps a cup of coffee.

So having not seen nor needed to do something simple with the TV for many a year, tonight I decided to give it a bash. As a new TV channel will soon burst upon screens, which I am very curious about, as it involves Thane who runs George FM and no doubt a bunch of others I know. Exciting stuff I reckon and they are good people, so watch I must.

So, I have to tune in the telly to see this damn thing, enough to ruin a lovely summers eve, I’m telling ya.

I logon to the Alt TV web site and basically followed their instructions to begin the tuning session. I figured I was in for a long frustrating task. I really should have got some cheesels in for the hopeful eventful outcome. Or perhaps I should have bred by now so I’d have children to do these tuning tasks for me and I could be manly in a supervisory role. Sometimes life leaves one in a position where you really do need a good slapping.

There I was sweaty brow and what happens, well, in less than bloody five minutes I have Juice TV, Maori TV and Alt TV all tuned, saved and sorted. What a dick I am!

Yippee three more channels to surf….. hmmm, not sure if this is really a godsend, damn my being able to perform a simple task that even a brain damaged chimpanzee could do, whilst blind folded and tied to a ocean going yacht I might add.

So now I have three new channels available I did what any self respecting TV watcher would do, muted the puppy and played records.

The new station launches on Monday, last night I did catch some test broadcast, which looked shockingly bad, yet in that low budget random way that oozes charm and sometimes provides one with a giggle and some astoundingly good moments of TV.

Its morning now and I’ve just watched a few trailers again and a couple of music videos; I think I’m going to enjoy watching this channel, on occasion. At the same time I worry about how they’ll find enough interesting content to live up to the on air promos promises, let alone some of the plans and desires of the new presenters I did catch with sound up last night. Finding the music videos and other content could be a very daunting task let alone finding the revenue to keep the beast ticking over.

So join me in a virtual toast if you’re in Auckland next Monday and we can all salute this new venture and wish it all the best. I do expect more than a few giggles, cringes and feelings of embarrassment for the on air team, I expect loads of mistakes and more than a few moments of television brilliance, which this sort of venture should excel in.

Good luck to them, I know they have one supporter here and that’s a start.

Now that I’ve conquered the tuning of the telly, maybe I shall attempt to video something…. Or shall I quit whilst I’m ahead? I think perhaps I should just pull me head in and work through my irrational fear of the idiot box.

I’ve a bunch of new tunes to devour at some point today, which is exciting, a new Justin Harris hip hop booty, a Luke Solomon remix a new No Assembly Firm (who I really am digging this year) and a track by someone whose name escapes me called ‘Wankers Paradise’ – now that’s a track name that really tickles me fancy, I hope its not just a bunch of crap. As well as the new ones I may just get a little crazy and play the flip sides of quite a number of 12”s that I haven’t flipped yet…. this is a bad habit of mine, not listening to all of a record. Rather it can take me years to fully explore a 12” record – which usually only contains 3 tracks. Also on the cards is King Loser - who until yesterday I hadn't thought of for a long time, thanks for the heads up them forum dwellers out there.

I’ve also been rediscovering Front 242, man I so loved them many, many years ago, most of their stuff still sounds amazing to my ears, production standards and that whole lack of bass thing being the most obvious thing that dates their sound. Hell with the right tweeks, I reckon them “electro” fans of today would be impressed.

Due to launch of the rocket yesterday I am also back in a space oriented music phase, must be the fourth or fifth time this year alone, the way I’m headed Monday’s show is going to be well random, wahoo.

Now I’ve conquered the telly perhaps I should go to Big Boys Toys this weekend and really flex my manliness, or at the least drink too much beer and possibly go check out my good mate Pip’s club night Saturday – of which she has assured me the door people shall be warned to expect an old man in shorts… a code of dress that usually excludes me entry to most of our clubs.

I am man, hear me roar!

I really should grow up.

The War To End All Wars... yeah right

The commemoration of Armistice Day will be held around the country today.

It is the 87th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918.

Remember that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, both of our enemies and those who serve to protect us.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them

Thursday, November 10, 2005

We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill...

Space the final frontier.....

The European spacecraft Venus Express has been successfully placed into a trajectory that will take it on its journey from Earth towards its destination of the planet Venus, which it will reach next April. A virtual twin sister of the Mars Express spacecraft which has been orbiting the Red Planet since December 2003, Venus Express is the second planet-bound probe to be launched by the European Space Agency.

Venus Express will eventually manoeuvre itself into orbit around Venus in order to perform a detailed study of the structure, chemistry and dynamics of the planet's atmosphere, which is characterised by extremely high temperatures, very high atmospheric pressure, a huge 'greenhouse effect' and as-yet inexplicable 'super-rotation' which means that it speeds around the planet in just four days.

The European spacecraft will also be the first orbiter to probe the planet's surface while exploiting the 'visibility windows' recently discovered in the infrared waveband.

Star Trekkin' across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin' across the universe, Boldly going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For Sale: One Slightly Used Blouse

As if things weren't bad enough for the jilted Mother of the Nation, she returned from holiday this week to find staff in the TVNZ building wearing her clothes.

While Judy Bailey was overseas on leave, it seems TVNZ held an in-house auction of the news presenter's wardrobe. But some of the garments were Bailey's own clothes - and definitely not for sale.

TVNZ spokeswoman Avon Adams said it was a mistake.

"What they tend to do is auction off the old clothes ... The tragedy is unfortunately Judy Bailey had some of her own personal garments in with the TVNZ wardrobe and they were inadvertently sold as well.

"We are very, very sorry it's happened, but it was a mistake, a human error."

Bailey was reported to be "ropeable".

NZ Herald

Poor ol TVNZ, too much time in the news and not enough time spent bringing us news..... is roughly what Helen Clark said recently. Yep!

Poor Judy, I'd be ropeable too. Does this indicate a reduction in future status, maybe Judy scary old badly dressed auntie of the nation.

Anyone over TV3's blatant use of marketing tactics to entice us into watching the news? Or are you all still travelling home then?

I am, over it that is, not travelling - the loaded questions and the other silly and blatantly obvious ploys to draw us in. I bet its all them qualified media graduates bringing their knowledge to the fore, or maybe the results of some over priced seminar or even just the knowledge shared amongst a very large media corporation. Whatever it bugs the crap out of me.

Also is it me or has the cross promotional activites between the two TVNZ run stations are recent occurence? If so long overdue - why not push viewers between the two stations. I can't help thinking if this is indeed a new thing then its a result of plummeting news ratings, which given the current difference I have noticed between our state owned broadcaster and that of rival TV3 is One News is the better quality and budgeted, yet I still watch 3 by choice - either by habit or maybe because I feel the people at 3 are more like me... or some such silly justification. Stranger still is I do feel 3's news coverage has got worse and worse - I don't need endless reporters on location, when a simple bulletin will do.

I complain about the media all the time, please forgive me this habit. I have a very solid agenda, I want to be presented with only the best news. I want to be as informed on as many subjects as possible and I want to be served my news accurately with plenty of balance and opinion. That and I like to voice my opinion and media in so many contexts fascinate me.

I'm grumpy with the Herald, who have put all their opinion colums behind a subscriber (paid) wall on their website. A complete pain as I don't need nor want to buy a copy of the paper very often and certainly not soley for the columnists, but without them my daily visit to the site is dull. I miss checking out Sideways as it can be a giggle and I miss reading some columns.

Wandering around Public Address yesterday I read this about the columnists and pay to view online antics of the Hearald. Man the Hearld has done some dumb stuff over the past few years but this is just so insulting to all I reckon.

I spent a lot of time yesterday up to me armpits in the 3D's and The Clean which somehow lead me to early ninties techno and old industrial dance records. Today I'm being more disiplined and have The Clean (again), The Bats and Bailter Space lined up. Depending on how I go I've dragged all my Xpressway 7"s out for a dusting and listening. I really feel its time to break out some Peter Jefferies and Alister Galbraith on George, time for the Exploding Budgies "Sunflower" as well... aahhh.

Looks like a wicked of a day on the sun front ahoy, I think I'll wear my Judy Bailey original summer frock

toot toot

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Old jokes that never fail to make me giggle

In the virtual world of messgae boards, group emails and silliness the same old jokes or joke themes go around and around and around. Some are not funny the first time and some always make me laugh and laughter they say is good for the spirit.

Me I love laughing and consider myself to have a pretty good sense of humour, I also am prone to finding some of the most dreary and obvious jokes bloody funny - I'm one of them types that can laugh all the way through Friends - which lets face it isn't really very funny. I adore the Simpsons and its a daily fixture in my laughter calander. I am chuffed C4 is screening The Family Guy every evening as its a show that makes me laugh aloud more than so many others - to the point where its almost embarassing. I laugh at many things and there is no logic to what can tickle my funny bone which is the great thing about jokes and comedy, each of us has our own unique sense of humour.

I came across this item this morning and for a generic joke it still made me laugh. Yep, I am a simple soul.

From: Bin Laden, Osama
To: All Al Qaeda Fighters
Subject: The Cave

Do Not Distribute Outside The Organization.

Hi guys. We've all been putting in long hours recently but we've really come together as a group and I love that! However, while we are fighting a jihad, we can't forget to take care of the cave, and frankly I have a few concerns:

First: While it's good to be concerned about cruise missiles, we should be even more concerned about the dust in our cave. We want to avoid excessive dust inhalation, (a health and safety issue) - so we need to sweep the cave daily. I've done my bit on the cleaning rota ..have you?

I've posted a sign-up sheet near the cave reception area (next to the halal toaster).

Second: It's not often I make a video address but when I do, I'm trying to scare the s**t out of most of the world's population, okay? That means that while we're taping, please do not ride your scooter in the background or keep doing the 'Wassup' thing. Thanks.

Third: Food. I bought a box of Dairylea recently, clearly wrote "Ossy" on the front, and put it on the top shelf. Today, two of my Dairylea slices were gone. Consideration. That's all I'm saying.

Fourth: I'm not against team spirit and all that, but we must distance ourselves from the Infidel's bat and ball games. Please do not chant "Ossy, Ossy, Ossy, Oy, Oy, Oy" when I ride past on the donkey. Thanks.

Five: Graffiti. Whoever wrote "OSAMA F***S DONKEYS" on the group toilet wall It's a lie, the donkey backed into me, whilst I was relieving myself at the edge of the mountain.

Six: The use of chickens is strictly for food. Assam, the old excuse that the 'chicken backed into me, whilst I was relieving myself at the edge of the mountain' will not be accepted in future. (With donkeys, there is a grey area.)

Finally, we've heard that there may be Western soldiers in disguise trying to infiltrate our ranks. I want to set up patrols to look for them.

First patrol will be Omar, Muhammad, Abdul, Akbar and Dave.

Love you lots,
Group Hug.

PS - I'm sick of having "Osama's Bed Linen" scribbled on my laundry bag. Cut it out, it's not funny anymore.

Yeah stupid, but.... I laughed anyway

I really dig the part about foreigners, especially in light of my recent reading on David Hicks - a victim in this war on terror and a example of how a nation can turn its back on one of their own.

I've been trying to write about Festival Mushroom Records and the merger of that company into Warner Music, the fallout of which is redundancy for a terrific group of people but alas the words aren't flowing as I'd like thus far, so its a work in progress for now. Instead i'll point you all to this piece, written by someone else, someone who knows more and writes better than me.

As a consequence of the merger I have been trawling through a lot of my Flying Nun releases, of which I have a hell of a lot but not sadly all, the completeist in me is never satisfied....

Its good in times of reflection to have a belly laugh or even a small giggle.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Long & The Short Of It

Monday 2-4

The Chills - The Great Escape (Flying Nun) 1986
The Able Tasmans - Michael Fay (Flying Nun) 1998
The Beat - Twist & Crawl (Aritsa) 1980
Greenskeepers - Man In The House (GK rmx) (GK Music) 2005
Derrick L Carter - Legacy (Wash House) 2005
Stacy Kidd feat Artesha - Thank You (instrumental dub) (Musique De Salon) 2005
Stacy Kidd - Disco mania 2 (Red Hot) 2005
Stacy Kidd - House Crusade (Odds & Ends) 2005
Stacy Kidd - (Toys) (Smooth Agent) 2004
Stacy Kidd - Bad Accident (Lady D's edit) (Delectable) 2005
Bear Who? - Funky City (Fuzzy's Back to the world mix) (Dust Traxx) 2005
Wah Syndicate - Now That We've Found love (Lil Mark rmx) (Nepenta) 2005
Bloom - Slip Slip (Dot Bleep) 2005
Chris Grant - The Jimmy Jam (Sound Republic rmx) (Jackin Tracks) 2005
Pixies - Where Is My Mind (4AD)
Anne Will - Move D (Libe Detail) 2005
Greenskeepers - On The Line (members only rmx) (GK Music) 2005
Rob Mello - Critical (Classic) 2005
Jeremy Joshua - My Head (Cosa De Discos) 2004
Bernard Badie Feat Dajae - train (Cajual) 2005
Green Velvet - The Bathroom (Relief) 2005

Best taken whilst bloody grumpy, had a bunch of happy summery tunes and it pissed down

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rod Donald RIP


The sudden death of Greens co leader Rod Donald has left his political colleagues in a state of shock.

The 48-year-old entered Parliament in 1996 having successfully fought to have the voting system changed to MMP.

Mr Donald joined the Values Party - the forerunner of today's Green Party - in 1973 and just one year later, at the age of eighteen, he cycled from Christchurch to Nelson to become the campaign manager for the local Values Party candidate.

He once described his journey to the Beehive as a 'solid apprenticeship'.

During that time, he was a key worker for Trade Aid, campaigning for fairer trade links between developing nations and the west. From 1986 to 1990 he worked for Volunteer Service Abroad as public affairs manager and, prior to his election to Parliament in 1996, returned to Trade Aid for six years where he was the New Zealand manager for Trade Aid Importers.

During that time, between 1989 and 1993, he was also the National Spokesperson for the Electoral Reform Coalition, working to persuade the country to switch to the MMP voting system.

He joined the Greens early in 1994, and in June 1995 was encouraged to stand for the position of Co-leader. He was placed at number 10 on the Alliance list and was elected to Parliament with Jeanette Fitzsimons in the 1996 election.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oh Crap... I got it wrong

Well I still ain't got me an I-pod nor does New Zealand have access to the Australian branch of the I-Tunes store

As expected, Apple launched its iTunes Music Store in Australia on Tuesday, but Sony BMG continues to play hardball, exercising its major-label status to hamper Apple's catalogue in multiple countries.

The iTunes Music Store is now available in 21 countries. Despite Sony's reluctance to join the party, Apple is offering Australian music fans access to a million-song catalogue, alongside more than 1,000 music videos.

Sadly, New Zealand music fans remain out of the loop - at least for now.

Prices are AUS$1.69 per song and AUS$3.39 per video. Most albums cost AUS$16.99

I dunno why this is, but alas it is so. That'll explain the lack of fanfare here. Rumours say maybe in the new year and then if we believe the rumours concerning I-Tunes in NZ then we'd have seen a local branch here many many months ago.

I'd like to say I'm gutted but I'm not, cause I wouldn't be using the place anyway.

As for Sony BMG stance of not signing up, I can't say I blame em, if there holding out means that Apple will give them and the others that could benefit from their bargaining power better returns I'd suggest this is a good thing for the business of music. As I doubt I'll ever be a I-Tunes regular I am more than happy to back em here.

Anyone caught the latest buzz on Sony BMG and the copy protection software farce they've just unleashed? Stupid, stupid, stupid...... I can understand the rationale behind trying to protect their copywrites and restrict the unauthorised copying of purchased CDs - who couldn't. Yet the continuation of these big businesses on copy protection measures that are at best bloody irritating for them that have parted with their hard earned and more often than not, as in this case, the copy protection measures are just so, um, crap. They should know better and they should have learnt something one would think for previous fiascos similar to this?

Of course this coming from the same company that only one year ago stated they were abandoning copy protection.

One things for sure this latest round of red cheeks at SonyBMG has only lead to more irrate music and technology fans. Nice one chaps! I'll be sexist here, as I doubt a woman would be so bloody stupid, or arrogent.

At some point these mega businesses have to learn to take the hit on the chin, people will copy CDs no matter what they try, its become a point of pride for many a hacker to beat these systems and usually it only takes a few hours from the launch of a new system for some 12 year old to crack it.

Waste of time, effort and money - I guess people have to be seen to do their job as that is corporate culture but a tiny bit of common sense please. Maybe instead of puring money into copy protection you could have a staff picnic or maybe, just maybe, A&R some fresh new talent and release a killer record... you know that core business lark, stop fucking off music fans and them casual buyers who are your bread and butter, you muppets. No offense is meant by using the term muppet to Muppet fans, sorry Belinda.

Damn, I came on here this morning to talk about the wonderful thing that friendship is and here I am ranting. With that I shall bugger off and have me a coffee and save my happy thoughts for another day.

Crikey just looked at the date - Guy Fawkes, lock up ya pets people

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oranges and lemons

I have a thing for the colour orange and I don’t really know why.

It’s not my favourite colour, though I am not sure if I actually have a favourite, I think that’s the sort of thing best left to primary school, favouring a colour. We’ve all be subjected in our lives to having to pick out a favourite colour, inane concept unless one does have a preference, here all colours are equal and thus all are welcome in my house.

I don’t purposefully buy orange clothes and wear virtually no orange garments, only my prison overalls, and they are only required on Sunday mornings when we clean out the pigs. I also don’t find myself drawn to those wearing orange or those whose fake tans render them a nice healthy shade of orange. Nope my orange fixation only really kicks in when it comes to food.

Now there are not a huge range of food types that orange covers, unlike say green. Those that do fall into the orange category are in my eyes the food of gods. I’m not sure if my revelation will earn my praise or disdain and the majority of food types I adore that come in the correct colour are not what one would call healthy eating options, one is. There’s some balance but not a lot.

There are three important orange food groups;

Carrots – I love carrots, they so rock. I prefer them raw, no strike that I only love them raw. Cooked carrots lose all that makes the carrot so desirable in my world. Two or three carrots at a time; peeled, washed then eaten, a simple recipe for a simple chap. On the rare occasion the carrots can be sliced and eaten maybe with a dip – you know them rare times one wants to feel flash and sophisticated, maybe when trying to impress a lady, or not as the case maybe. I’m going to buy me a bag of carrots today, cause its been a while since I plummeted headfirst into a carrot binge. I’ve read that if one eats enough carrots your skin turns orange, I’ve never experienced this, I reckon it’d be bloody funny, I can imagine myself glowing in the dark, a glowing orange thing with fruju breath. Doubt its quite the look to frighten ya average street gang member but small children and cats maybe.

Chessels – the food of the gods. I am a sucker for some forms of junk food. The little boy that rules me loves all forms of chips and at the apex of the chip styled food chain sits the mighty Cheesel. My old surf buddy the Commander, we’ll call him, for that is one of his names, well me and the commander would often indulge in a packet or two of this mighty food post surf, complimented with beer, lots of beer. I neither surf nor eat many chessels these days. I do on occasion indulge in a cheesel eating frenzy and that’s a good thing, surfing alas I haven’t got my feet wet doing that for many a year. I should take it up again, though not wanting to be a long boarder I fear I may not have the stamina nor balance I once took very much for granted. I definitely aren’t as fit as I once was and well being a smoker, I doubt my lungs are much good for anything other than sealing cracks in walls. Lets file this surfing lark under, one day maybe.

Orange Frujus – each and every summer I go through a ice block phase and when in this period I always eat an orange fruju, each and every day (excluding usually weekends, that’s for beer and frujus and beer are not the best companions). I love it when the fruju craving kicks in, as its always the height of summer and has never needed any prompting on my part. Having just done my days research, I fear the fruju may just be a New Zealand thing – I see them deluded and mixed up South Africans have a fruit juice called fruju, poor things. That’s the sort of legacy one would expect considering that nations rocky road. Now in our world of constant evolution, or should that be calls for new products to take to market, the humble fruju has pretty much been left alone – for that I thank you Tip Top (the manufacturers). As the days here get longer, thanks daylight saving and the sun heats up I look forward to a fruju filled summer – or two to three weeks as that’s the usual period I indulge my habit.

Other than the above there are of course many other orange types of food, hell theres even the colours namesake, the humble orange. Love em, but not nearly as much as my three faves. As a child I adored oranges and as an adult I still adore the concept, I don’t enjoy so much the eating of. Maybe its cause they aren’t organic, might have to test this thought or maybe its my hatred of having orange juice on myself. I dunno, I really will endeavour to have more oranges. The other orange colour fruits, vegetables and non natural food types are all good but my passion is reserved for the big three.

I have a friend who worships at the alter of the Twistie, a similar but in my opinion inferior product to the cheesel. In fact, Phil – Twisties are gay, that’s in a non homophobic sense of the word I must add – we’ll have none of that muck here thank you very much. Phil, get help!

Now here I bet a few of you are wondering what about the pumpkin. I’ll just say, pumpkins should never be eaten nor carved into stupid faces for stupid festivals – Halloween fans take note – you butchers! I believe Pumpkins are not merely a vegetable, but rather a much higher life form and thus not for our consumption, rather they should command our respect and praise. We shouldn’t worship the pumpkin but we should leave them be and allocate public spaces for pumpkin patches where this noble animal can live in peace and harmony without human interference nor persecution. I won’t expand my pumpkin theories and realities here as I have neither the time, nor inclination; we’ll cover that another time perhaps. Just don’t eat em, ok!?!?

I’ve just popped out, well my puter crashed, stupid thing, thus I took a moment and checked my emails and see a friend has been made redundant as of the end of this week. Suckhole, he's a fine fellow and done a good job in a largely thankless role.

I’ve had a few fall victim to this crappy way to lose ya job over the past few months and today I know of another group of friends I once worked with find out if they retain their jobs as the company where they are is being merged into another. I fear most if not all will get the chop and the NZ Music industry will be the poorer for it.

Redundancy sucks, its one thing to lose ya job cause you’re crap and get sacked or cause its your choice or the business collapses. Redundancy has no positives, well unless you're one of them rare beasts who gets a big payout, though i'm not spo sure that action exists as it once did - employment contract act, you shitty piece of legislation. I understand the economic reasons for redundancy, sometimes, you know not making enough money to support all staff and that muck – yet so often this isn’t always the reason, redundancy is so often used as a cost cutting measure above other more practical and business savvy means to reduce costs and maximise profits for the shareholder, blah blah blah.

When people loss the source of income through no fault of their own its not only sad but the repercussions on that person can and usually are devastating. Good employees should not have to endure the stress and emotional fallout for their masters decisions, not to mention the economic hardship of losing ya income.

I know at the company that is handing out the envelopes today all the staff are great people and most have worked so bloody hard to make the company what it is, not only have their masters benefited from the hard work and passion of these people but our tiny silly musical landscape in New Zealand has been much wealthier for their decisions. It just bloody sucks, especially so close to Christmas. Theres a number of great musicians who will no doubt suffer as a reuslt and possibly dozens of artists who lose the one place they may have found a home. Music is so not the winner on the day.

Staying with that thought I saw a old friend on telly last week – he’ll be getting the chop from Air NZ being one of the engineers being made redundant. Another sad day, I know how hard this guy has worked and the experience and skills he’s gained over the years must I imagine make him seriously qualified, scarily so and no doubt another nation will benefit from his skills. With a young family I doubt very much he wants to leave NZ, a country and way of life I know he adores with all his heart.

We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world and yet we’re not doing as well as the economists and other clever clogs would have us think, or at least that is my take on the current situation. Big business is I am sure doing splendidly, as you hit street level things are very far from positive. Times ahead I feel will be very hard for many.

Many of the changes that consumers and thus business have been going through over the past eighteen months or so are starting to impact and showing themselves, economic downturn ahoy. For a tiny nation we are never as future proofed as one would like, we don’t have the population nor geographic position to easily take slight downturns in our stride, not have the resources and industries that we can rely on for export dollars.

Primary industries here are our economic backbone, and as we’ve seen in the past that alone doesn’t ensure a water tight future. I can see us working the tourist destination of choice for so many angle more and more, rendering so much of our workforce into service roles. I don’t want our country to become a tourist mecca, its no way to base an economy and no way for our people to better themselves and their lot. As a nation we deserve better, alas I doubt we’ll get it.
Might have to get me some cheesels with them carrots today, for those facing a shitter of a day, my best thoughts are with you, chin up - you can be very proud of what you've achieved :(

Joy Division I thin is needed at some point today, Closer I think

toot toot

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I’m not part of the I-pod revolution

I wish I had an I-pod, being a walker by nature and circumstance I’d love to have a playback device so small and convenient that listening to music on ones travels is painless, not too mention the fashionable aspect of it. I doubt I will get one in the short or medium term, I’m more likely to buy records than hardware to listen to music on, alas that is my musical vice, technology is cool but music is way cooler. So I sometimes hanker for an I-Pod, especially when contemplating a decent walk, but that’s about as far as I’ve gone to date.

The launch of I-Pod’s online store in Australia seems to have bypassed most of the media I follow, which seems rather strange considering how much time and space some outlets have devoted to the lack of a local and usable online store for us lot here, yes there are a couple but they have yet to make any real impact and probably never will, its all about Apple and the I-pod really now isn’t it.

The European and US stores cannot and will not sell to us, due to licensing issues - for those who don’t know.

Over the past decade and a bit I’ve followed the introduction of a variety of digital download sites and business models that sought ways to deliver music via the internet that also had financial viability and credibility for the artists and labels involved. The ones I liked the most came to nothing, those that basically mimick the physical world have become the norm, for now.

I even own a third share in a digital download site – one that will never see the light of day unfortunately or maybe fortunately. A long story, not a very interesting one. All was on track, we had licenses in place and had signed up a few labels to represent their catalogue online, then I got too busy and couldn’t fulfil all my obligations to the crucial setup stage in the time needed and then the coder guy got busy, lost interest and bailed. Leaving us with some decisions to make and due to changes we all were going through in our other business lives the thing floundered and sits partially complete not to see the light of day again, I imagine. Many hours wasted but a good exercise none the less.

In the mid nineties there was a flurry of activity coming out of the US from a number of companies signing up labels for schemes that never really got off the ground. Some of the negotiations’ for the label where I worked at the time I was involved in, due to the fact I wear glasses and know a bit about computers – well it was really the specs, if I’d just had a white coat… The strange upshot of the schemes back then was the term the licenses sought by the various US companies – most were for at least a decade (far too long at the time and very inflexible for the label and artist) and often included kickback and share schemes for the signatory from the label – incentives… nope, blatant bribes. Anyways those schemes disappeared after a while as the sites never eventuated nor did a workable business model, perhaps it was the way the companies went about seeking licenses rather than their attempt to sell music that was the stumbling block. I know we didn’t sign up at the time. Anyways, it was interesting but came to nothing. Quite possibly the dot com crash sealed the fate of most, I guess.

The second phase of activity centred around that upstart of a software company Napster, which is where the revolution really took hold. The beginnings of peer to peer (P2P) file sharing systems that have since liberated some many millions of music fans from the need to stick their hands in their wallets. Also the start point for many a lawyer to make some serious dosh representing copy write holders in the digital domain that resulted and continues to in a multitude of court cases that Napster and other subsequent P2P software houses have faced. Interesting stuff most of it, however for all but those with a lot of reading time and the inclination on their hands a dull subject to follow.

The reaction by the established corporate face of the music industry to P2P was and continues to be ugly and stupidly thought out, tackling the users/fans in many a court case that only furthered the alienation many felt from the powerhouses of the music world.

A business world where the label is always the enemy and the artist the downtrodden, with selfishness being the strongest motivator for the consumer, well maybe selfishness is a bit harsh, perhaps I should say cheapness of people – which is of course the sort of accusation only someone with a vested interest would make. The fan in me is all up for the proliferation of music by any means.

A culture has grown that feels everything on the internet should be free, and music is the cornerstone of the free for all policy that has flourished and solidified itself for at least a generation. I feel that the only industry that ever had the right approach to the internet is that of the pornographers and whilst I have no figures to back my feelings up I do believe that porn and the digestion of pornographic material has increased exponentially since the internet became common place and user friendly, but that’s not my interest or the topic for today. The music industry, the mainstream part, was slow to react and embrace the new and thus lost the battle for the fans before they even started. Now its all about reducing the impact and loss of sales not embracing and creating a new era of business, although that has come, slowly and sluggishly.

Now whilst the majors and surrounding companies looked for workable ways to sell music on line and continued their fight against the P2P’ers there was a vacuum, a vacuum that the free for all sites filled with legal and illegal material for all to download and share at their leisure. It was a revolution in the truest sense of the word and the repercussions will be felt for many, many years ahead. In fact the revolution has started to seriously impact on other media realms, namely that of the movie industry, which coupled with the proliferation of physical pirating is costing the movie houses in the region of two billion dollars in lost revenue last year alone… mind boggling numbers. But again I am not concerned today with flims, though will say compared to the music biz, the movie houses command way more money and thus power in their fight against piracy and the free for all that is currently sweeping the globe. There tactics emulate those of the music companies, and thus I fear they will also alienate a generation and ultimately pay the price – or we will through less decent movies and more shite ones, fewer in number too no doubt.

Fast forward to the I-Pod, finally a piece of kit that played MP3’s and had the backup of the I-Tunes store for the average law abiding consumer to get out the plastic card and buy up all them songs they desired. The I-Pod itself isn’t the only piece of technology available but its is the biggest and most widely known, thus I am only confining my thoughts and opinions to that particular beast.

We’ve all seen the articles and multiple stories of how successful I-Tunes has become, millions of songs downloaded at a very affordable rate and the consumer was king or queen for that matter. Once more the majors had the upper hand, it seemed, a rightful place to ease the steadily declining physical sales and loss of income they and the lesser companies had had to endure. A viable and fashionable way to find revenue in a music industry that is and was in disarray.

But all was not happy in the world of the large boardrooms, the returns for music companies on selling via I-Tunes didn’t come with the sort of margins that ya average CEO gets all hot and bothered over, in fact if anything the music was too cheap, furthering the cheapening of the actual physical product of CDs and prices fell, once again, and still this didn’t ease the continuing reduction of physical sales.

The music industry tried (belatedly) and is continuing to try and hit back over the small margins they enjoy via I-Tunes, though the only means left to them, asking Apple for more of a slice of the action and pushing for a price rise – something that won’t happen, I’m sure. Accusations came thick and fast from Steve Jobs and the Apple crew accusing the music companies of being overly greedy, as the online sales was no cash cow for them either, they however had the happy margins that the hardware (I-pod) itself to more than offset any loses attributed to running the online stores with such slim margins – took the music types a while to cotton onto the fact that they had openly and willingly (maybe also begrudgingly) entered into the deals they did and are now for the short term at least stuck in. Something I must say the multinationals have excelled in over the past decade – dumb short term decisions that ultimately cost them market share and power over their and their artists own future destiny. It’s all now a rear guard action, one that they will ultimately lose I feel. Apple accuses the majors of being greedy and they counter that with their own claims of Apple doing the same, two children in the sandpit throwing insults and perhaps at some point sand… it all comes back to a plateaux of mud, I’m telling ya.

Outside of the huge players is the Independent sector – a large and significant chunk of the music industry, they were in most cases left out of any negotiations, as per normal and were left with a like it or lump it attitude from Apple. Until I-Tunes Europe that is. There the indies of the UK and Europe fought for a slice of the action and higher margins, which to a degree they managed to gain, crumbs off the boardroom table really, but a start, perhaps. The real action here was the Indies organising themselves and fighting the big players on all sides for recognition and a right to have a say in their collective futures, which alone is a good thing. Not totally a new thing but a significant milestone none the less.

Here in St Clouds, opps, I mean New Zealand under our antiquated copy write laws a consumer here has no legal right to ‘format shift’ music – that is create copies of anything they have already brought, be it for backup or for the I-Pod or whatever MP3 player one has etc. Now all laws are antiquated when it concerns new technology, that is alas the way of legalities, the legal system is slow to react to anything – one of its inherent weaknesses and also strengths. The law should evolve slowly, this I don’t dispute as it’s important, vitally so that when a law is amended or created that it’s done right, preferably first time. Thus time is crucial. This doesn’t of course help matters in the real world, for that puppy marches on regardless of legalities, especially in our internet anonymous age. Increasingly things march on at a rate of knots that the legal beagles will never keep pace with.

So back to NZ, here the I-Pod sales have boomed, as they have all over the globe and with Apples I-Tunes store finally opening in the land of Oz, New Zealand consumers can now legally buy tunes for the I-Pod from I-Tunes. I am still surprised the store opened, I would have bet against one ever opening here as the population size of NZ and Australia combined is not a mecca for any business, unlike the US, Asia and Europe we are tiny in comparison, almost irrelevant one would think – however one must note Australia has been the saving grace of many an artist and record company though the sheer volume of music that continues to sell there. Strangely enough Australia was one of the last countries to see serious sales downturns in the physical side of the biz – weird. I reckon it’s cause they is slow…. being a proud kiwi, I would do.

So in Australia since the launch of I-Tunes, only last week, the retail and music companies have struck back to protect the physical side of the business by doing what? Dropping their prices – fucking muppets! May as well just raise the white flag now guys, is all I can think. Just like how DVDs were priced too cheaply and now have lost any decent retail price the continual discounting of music is a lose/lose scenario for them with a vested interest. There were better strategies to employ before dropping ones pants, but pants have fallen and been cast aside and the world moves on under the assumption that they the consumers were cheated by profiteering music companies for years, a perception that with each and every action taken by the large players only seems to be confirmed in the eyes of the fans. This alone is a sad thing, as a multi national can weather a few years of losses, the small players can’t. Hell I could have run my business for almost a decade on what universal NZ lost last year alone… but I digress.

Whilst the proliferation of download sites and equipment to play MP3s and all the other file formats has nearly matched the demand from the consumer for cheap and readily accessible music (look at the way mobile phones have prostituted music to justify even more technology that most neither need nor want on the humble handset) the ultimate winner has and always will be from this point on be the consumer – which alone is not a bad thing. I would hazard a guess and say more people are being proactive in their musical choices than ever before – a wonderful side effect. The industry however has missed their chance to find the right means to consolidate their profits and ownership of the very product that is theirs by right. They now play second fiddle to just about all the other vested players and all the merging and rationalisation in the world will not give them the clout or return them to the glory days when profits were easy to find and consumers were waiting eager for their next release.

The future for the industry of pre-recorded music has never seemed bleaker, yet from this will come I believe new business models and ways for the artist and canny music company to do well. I am not sure what or how this will happen yet, I am sure it will happen. In the meantime we’ll see more rationalisation and redundancy in the big camps and less players able to stay in the game from the little guys.

As a species music is a universal necessity for us all – I reckon and history seems to back this up. Its hard to distance oneself from music, its is everywhere and with the advancement in recording technologies and the dramatic reduction in computer hardware and software prices more people than at any other point in time have the means to create their own music – means where one doesn’t need any real musical knowledge to crank out a killer tune, it helps but isn’t essential, unlike the bare minimum needed to play an instrument, now one can create with only a passing knowledge of a software package with as little skill as one needs to master copy and paste. Of course the adage is and will always be, just because one can doesn’t mean one should.

Interesting times we live in, exciting one could say, but not really. The exciting times, I feel, are yet to come. We get the painful time of change. As things are trialled in the real world, some will succeed and others will fail and only time will tell what lies ahead for the business of music. One things for sure, music shall go forth and accompany us on our adventure of life, that alone is comforting.

I firmly believe music is life and that’s a beautiful thing. Well it is for me and for all the ups, downs and disappointments I have endured as being a bit player in the business of music my love and passion for this medium has never abated, if anything it only grows with each passing day – I am a sad sad man and happily so.

Tis going to be an interesting week here, the radio ratings come out, Firday I think, something I always look forward too – doing a radio show an all, however my real interest is in the ups, downs and turnarounds of the various stations, a couple of which I follow very, very closely indeed. Ratings are arse of course, but that doesn’t mean people don’t take notice nor that they aren’t of passing interest for many. I know I expect one lot I dig to further enjoy an upswing in the number stakes, further confirming they have made the right choices and another I feel with see the opposite, further confirming my suspicions that the decisions they have made over the past couple of years were very short sighted and just plain stupid. We’ll see soon and I know I will if I’m right feel smug for seconds, maybe minutes and then move on with my life.

The past two days I have rediscovered the Fall and am revisiting many classics I have not bothered with for many a year, I am awash in Mark E Smith’s “ah’s” and this makes me smile a lot, ah.

Cities Skylines: MARS (Live Stream)