Friday, November 25, 2005

Clap clap for the handicap 

Crikey, this blog is two years old today. It seems like only yesterday I wrote those faltering first words.

And here I am in 2005, sitting alone at a computer on a Friday night on the other side of the planet, while tickets to the Quantic Soul Orchestra go to waste (thanks to the after-effects of imbibing too many champagnes and cocktails at yesterday's staff Christmas lunch - the tune has changed but the song remains the same, it would seem...)

Older, fatter, certainly not wiser. It's been a worthwhile two years then. ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I see dead people 

I've been asked to submit a "Top 5 for 2005" for a local rag here. It wouldn't usually be a tough call, but when you've been in the UK for most of the year, it's hard to avoid innocuously sounding like a "ooh, hark at me, I've been living abroad!" wanker to a Kiwi audience.

A UK Top 5 Moments would be easy. But what proud NZer (or Brit, for that matter) could give a two tosses about Jen's reminiscences of tears at Glastonbury, goosebumps over Bobby Gillespie losing it in a fit of Kill All Hippies rage, the Metro Riots rocking the Camden Proud gallery, the night George Clinton seized her soul or the evening the Whitehorse, erm, 'thrilled' to the sound of the Southsidesoul All-Stars on ridiculous home-made percussion, saucepans and cowbell? (That's right, no one. I'll get my coat.)

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Anyway, after much thought, I've worked out what my submission will be: dead people - the ones who departed Planet Earth this year having left it a better place, at least as far as I'm concerned. Morbid it may be, but I think it's time I paid my dues.

I've got my 5 (make that 20) sorted. How about you?

[PS: Thanks mightily to eagle-eyed reader and Odyssey fan Mr Higgins, who sent this fabulous flyer of said glam rock superstars (see below post) - cheers pal. And a big sobby kiss to Janey McC, who's left me to be with her Scottish lover - just don't let him flash that skin sporran too often, lassie. xx]

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lost odyssey 

Driving home last night, I caught 10 minutes of a National Radio profile on a long-lost Christchurch glam rock band called Odyssey. Nope, I'd never heard of them either, but by the time I parked the car in my Sandringham garage, I was their biggest fan.

There aren't any recordings of Odyssey in the shops these days. Even the National Radio link - the first one on the list when you Google Odyssey+christchurch+glam+rock+band - brings up a dead page.

Apparently any archived TV footage of the band was taped over years ago - a move somewhat reminiscent of the BBC recording over classic Dr Who episodes to save money. (I still hold a secret hope that my 1988 It's Academic appearance will one day emerge from the TVNZ vaults - but considering I was then sporting braces, acne and a seriously evil perm, I guess I wouldn't mind too much if my 15 minutes of fame had had to be sacrificed to accommdate the 2004 Upper Hutt NZ Idol heats.)

Regarding Odyssey, this subtle eradication of Kiwi culture is both a shame and a tragedy, for you have to wonder just how much else has gone the same way, to be rediscovered and dredged up as "secret histories" if they're lucky, or more likely to live on only in the hearts of the people who were there, consigned to dusty shoeboxes and long-winded pub tales.

Listening to these ordinary 50-something men get joyfully nostalgic about their brief moment of 1970s glory made me think just how many one-time heroes, legends in their own lunchtimes, we must meet in the course of an average day.

Does the middle-aged chap at the bank bore his family about the time he was known all over town for his beatnik poetry? The faded beauty behind the counter at the chemist smile secretly to herself when she recalls her modelling days in Swinging London, when she once gave Brian Jones a blowjob? A homesick 30-year-old blogger groan as she remembers the night she got a standing ovation for her Goldfinger rendition at Gary's Garyoke at the Swan in E15?

It's something worth remembering when the mundanities of life get you down - your own little rock star moment to make you smile and to tease your kids with.

"Get out of here," they'll say. "You're too old, fat and ridiculous, you daft fool."

"Yeah," you'll reply, "but I was pretty hot in my day. Honest."

But they'll never believe you, of course - especially when they dig out that It's Academic video...

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