A night with Paul

Posted by Lou. The time is 1.25pm here in London, UK.

Tuesday 22nd December 2009 will be forever tattooed in my memory as the night my dreams came true and I got to see A Beatle perform live.

This alone would be enough, but the two-and-three-quarter hours of magnificence that Paul McCartney delivered was beyond my wildest dreams.

For the geeks, here is some info on the set-list in rough chronological order and with many gaps due to just having jotted it down on the way home. I also have to confess that I am very unfamiliar with Paul's solo and Wings stuff, so there are a few songs I remember but couldn't identify.

I also broke my cardinal rule of not filming things but rather enjoying, however I decided part way through some lasting evidence of the magic will be something I'll enjoy over and over in the future.

Magical Mystery Tour
Drive My Car
Eleanor Rigby
...his brand new Golden Globe nominated one for a de Niro film...
Long and Winding Road
...a love song he wrote for Linda?...
Paperback Writer
...that newish one that is about dancing...
Here Today - this was an extremely emotional one. He led a cheering/ clapping session for John and spoke about the regret of not telling someone you love them and then it being too late.
I've got a Feeling
Band on the Run
Let It Be
Something - he began this on a ukulele that George had given him and sang it to a backdrop of images of George. The band then kicked for the second half. This is where I felt compelled to capture some moments:

A Day in the Life - he did the first two verses then his bit, and then they merged into us all singing the chorus of Give Peace a Chance - the crescendo that you know ends in his bit was pretty fucken awesome
Lady Madonna
Back in the USSR
...that fucken Christmas song that I hate!... (it was quite hilarious though)
Live and Let Die - fireworks! My God! It was awesome!!:

Hey Jude - total tears moment screaming out the naaa-naaa-naaa-na-na-na-naaas.
Get Back

At about this point - I mean, by now we're on a 2nd encore and about two-and-a-half hours in - I thought it couldn't get any better... but then...

Mull of Kintyre - complete with Highland drummers!:

And I was spent. There was nowhere to go. We'd reached the apex... but... but... Paul said "you want to rock some more don't you?" and we screamed "YES!!" and he took us into the best, rockingest, awesomest version ever of:

Helter Skelter

And I knew life would only be downhill from here. I had reached the top. And so he played us out on...

Sgt Pepper exit bit

Project iPod

Posted by Lou. The time is 9.35pm here in London, UK.

On August 12th 2009 I launched Project iPod: the challenge to myself to listen to every single song on my iPod alphabetically by album.

I hadn't thought about one important detail - I have more than 1,750 songs on my iPod. This is less than many people, but it's still about 7 days solid worth of music - around 165 hours, which - when you only listen to about an hour of iPod a day - means you're going to take a really fucken long time to listen to it all. Four months, in fact.

Allow me to share some highlights and lowlights and just-plain-embarrassments:
  • I knew that The Beatles, Radiohead, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favourite bands of all-time. But turns out I still really fucken dig the Violent Femmes. Those dudes had some really awesome stuff back in the day (the weird little album Rock! being a particular surprise).
  • My tastes continue in this mainstream manner, with the other bands that can be totally relied upon to get me singing along and foot-tapping and amped are The Killers, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes, Foo Fighters, The Strokes... you get the idea...
  • On the proper good old rock 'n' roll list I love The Rolling Stones and need to get more than just the 2-disc best of immediately. I also heart my Elvis, my Johnny Cash, my Bowie (though preferably at the Ziggy end), and my Tina Turner.
  • Would like to further explore Marilyn Monroe and Peggy Lee.
  • Why don't I have more of the Pixies? Just four lonely stray songs.
  • Did I mention I kinda previously hadn't realised how fucken awesome Jimmy Hendrix is? My god! He's a legend! His Best of is staying (though undoubtedly I'll forget about it again, listen to it in a year or so, and repeat the sentiment as if it hadn't occurred to be before).
  • Why do I only have one of the Nirvana albums?? Seriously?? What is wrong with me... sheesh...
  • I was getting a bit bored by a few albums towards which I felt indifferent, when The Sex Pistols' The Filth and the Fury came on and rocked my world.
  • I can appreciate the genius of Pink Floyd but, well, I just don't like listening to them. I can see that in the form of CDs to play out loud when chilling they'd be cool, but on an iPod they're just a big no-no for me. Except Wish You Were Here. I love that song.
  • Bands of whom I have albums on there via synching with others' iTunes that I just don't connect with and am deleting as I type are: Placebo, Interpol, The Dandy Warhols, Prince (minus a few of his spectacular songs like Purple Rain and When Doves Cry).
  • A hidden treasure was the long forgotten Fur Patrol EP Starlifter. Man in a Box is a genius piece of subversive girl song-writing.
  • I had some really hideous Celine Dion on there. I don't know how or why, but reserved the right to break the rules and skip it (sort of finding a loophole by quickly connecting to iTunes and deleting it). Her only appearance in my music collection is now in her Josh Groban duet of The Prayer (live). Which I listen to for Josh, obviously.
  • Best voices are undoubtedly: Frank Sinatra (his Moon River is in my top 5 recordings ever - if you don't know it you must immediately listen to it - utterly immaculate... like liquid velvet in a voice...), Josh (oh Josh), and Bic Runga.
  • I don't particularly like Crowded House. I won't delete them, but I don't really listen to them either. I do however love the innovative stuff Neil & co have done via 7 Worlds Collide and Enzso.
  • I just love Liam Finn's I'll Be Lighting. The boy is a genius.
  • A complete dud, one that I also had to break the rules and skip past as it was hurting my ears, is one of my old albums from my teens - Jewel's Spirit. Oh god no.
  • But Alanis Morissette is a big thumbs up. I only have two of her albums and it reminds me I should seek her later stuff to catch up on the last ten years. Interestingly, I actually like Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie more than Jagged Little Pill.
  • I take great pleasure in listening to both Miss Saigon and Les Miserables from start to finish. Note to self: add Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • I maintain my position that Stereophonics are the best covers band in the world. Particularly of The Beatles' songs.
  • And, lastly... I just can't bring myself to delete Robbie Williams' Sing When You're Winning. I'm sorry, but... I like it.
  • Okay, even worse... I have a Take That song. A cheesy, hideous one at that. A Million Love Songs. I even have it in one of my playlists. Stop judging me - I'm judging myself enough for everyone!

The Woman in White

Posted by Lou. The time is 1.38am here in London, UK.

Nora Ephron made me do it. In her I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora writes of a few books she loves (inspired by "Our Michael"'s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and says that Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White is the model for the thriller genre. I was sold, and having read it have to agree that it is a mighty fine thriller. I actually haven't read too many thrillers, so can't speak in more sweeping terms, but this one definitely had me turning the pages.

Generally a classic of this book's era would have me spending months poring over it, longing for something light to fill in the downtimes where I want something to flick through but can't... quite... bring... myself... to... face... a... proper... classic... This classic fulfils its thriller credentials, planting enough plot twists and character revelations to have me desperately turning the pages until the very end. It was also particular of interest to me as it is partially set in London, and - like BrightStar - conjured a time when even a modern-day inner-city suburb such as Hampstead was considered "other" than the City itself. It's fantastic to read something from 150 years ago and know that the well-established streets upon the characters walk are the very same streets you inhabit in what to Wilkie Collins would be unimaginable times.

Another wonderful element of this book is that it is proper Feminist, and I actually just wikipedia'd Wilkie Collins, suspicious that with that far-too-awesome-for-the-mid-19th-century name and feminist credentials that perhaps "he" was another George Elliot, forced by times to adopt a masculine pseudonym. (He actually is a he, though.) The female characters in this novel both fight and accept the roles ascribed to their gender, pride intact whichever way circumstances allow or necessitate.

Basically, I'd say add this to your reading list!

An email to the Taranaki Daily Times

Posted by Lou. The time is 12.04pm here in London, UK.

from Lou
to mike.brewer@dailynews.co.nz,
date Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 12:02 PM
subject Great work on Paul Perez Coverage!

Hi guys,

Just wanted to congratulate you on the brilliant pun at the start of the item about Paul Perez! Hilarious to say "side-step", really helped maintain the light mood of a domestic violence incident in which a pregnant woman was strangled and punched in the face. I also note your fantastic headline: "No easy let off for Paul Perez". I can't help but agree - hasn't this man suffered enough? I'm sure it really hurt his hands to strangle and punch her so really I can't help but agree that a fine and a conviction is not in any way whatsoever an easy let-off for a domestic abuser. I mean, she probably deserved it right?

I'm also so glad that you went into such depth about how this might hurt his playing career and didn't once mention the welfare of the victim or the possibility that his behaviour caused developmental damage to their unborn child. I'm so sick of people acting like domestic violence is an offence that has effects on other people and isn't all about the poor man who was driven to commit it.

Fantastic reporting Leighton - you should really be nominated for a journalism award for your coverage of this.

Keep up the great work! Hopefully with more news items like this we can up those domestic violence rates and help keep New Zealand women in their place! All power to domestic abusers! They're victims too!

Best wishes,


NZ judiciary characteristically piss-poor, frankly

Posted by Lou. The time is 11.18am here in London, UK.

For all the rhetoric against domestic violence and the advertising campaigns that have prominently featured on NZ screens as long as I can remember, nothing is going to change when the judiciary continue to take a piss-poor and lax attitude towards punishing offenders.

This guy choked his pregnant partner into near unconsciousness and punched her in the face, before preventing her from seeking help by using a knife to cut their phone cord, and later shredding her possessions, all over a pair of shoes, all following on from a history of volatility, and he gets slapped with a $750 fine to go along with some paltry costs and orders to go to an anger management course. Gee, that'll teach him.

How about backing up that rhetoric with some action, hey?