Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s. That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of… More Tolkien and folk-rock and us
New Zealand’s ingenuity seems limitless these days. Back in 2012 a graduate student at Victoria University, in my own city of Wellington, invented a robot bass guitar. Awesome or what? Here’s the instrument – MechBass – playing ‘Hysteria’: Soon, the same machine is going to perform as part of an ensemble: http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/plot-twist-bass-guitarist-robot That’s extremely geeky… More Human creativity always wins – for now
I went into a coffee shop the other day intending to buy scones – which they make and sell on the premises. The place was filled with techno-elevator music at shattering volume. I asked for the scones. And then the fun began. Music: THOP THOP THOP THOP Counter goon: Worb blurb wob with your coffee?… More The dangers of talking around loud music
The night of 14 February 2004 was a night that made my wife and I forget it was summer. Freezing southerly winds and driving rain didn’t bode well for an open-air concert. But this was Bowie, on his Down Under Tour. We’d been looking forward to it for months. Bowie. The Thin White Duke. The Spider… More The day I saw David Bowie in the rain
A week or so ago I posted on the way 1970s Brit prog rockers adapted to changing tastes in music – underscoring the fact that writers, too, should adapt inside their own field and genres. I made a couple of statements that were deliberately hyperbolic, to underscore the point. I thought they were obviously so OTT… More Hyperbole has its place. So does the Mellotron.
Jack Ely died last week. Jack who? The guy who sang “Louie Louie” for the Kingsmen, back in 1963. His rendition was so garbled the CIA investigated the song for seditious content. Which was a bit of a waste because actually, there’s nothing to the lyrics of ‘Louie Louie’. I mean – nothing. They’re moronic.… More My sneaky crusade to play “Louie Louie”, and why it failed
It’s amazing how many writing lessons I find in music. When I was a kid and learning music, there was an attitude that rock musicians were musical Neanderthals who could strum a few chords while making animal noises. ‘Proper’ music was ‘classical’, around which the Royal Schools grade courses I was doing was framed. The criteria for… More The three questions all authors must ask before starting