Monthly Archives: January, 2008

The Police

I can now say that I’ve been to see the The Police (a well-known and quite popular band from ‘my’ day) play a concert – and I never thought I would be able to say this. Who’d have thought a former Geordie teacher named after a bee’s bum, a well-chinned drummer and a clean cut ’60s guitarist could create such a wonderful array of tunes as a 3-piece. They played all the good ones – the rocky reggae/ska tunes from their early days and the ones from their later albums which sound a bit like Sting does by himself. Not being a failed muso who’s moved from trying to play music into critiquing the performance of others, I don’t feel qualified enough to dish out stars. However, if I were I would be giving them at least 4, if not 5. As you can imagine, the media reports on the gig today will feature a plethora of law and order related puns… Police Make Arresting Performance and such like.

As a group we got there quite late walking in the gates and making sure our group were still together we queued at the booze tent, just managing to get our regulation brace of drinks before the 8.30pm cut off. We then headed into the mass gathering of citizenry to enjoy our two drinks as Fergie (the singing version, not the ginger Duchess of York weight watchers version) performed some of her own, and some of the Black Eyed Peas hits. My hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps was a particular, and most poignant, highlight. I heard that song might be about body parts, although Fergie didn’t clarify this at any point. At this point we had found our seat on the right hand side at the bottom of the bank. The only things restricting our view of the stage and the big screen were some glavanised metal barriers, two security guards, and just as the Police kicked into their set, 4 ‘on-duty’ police officers. We did ask them to move, but they remained steadfast in their positions saying something about the name of their organisation being sullied by those “musical hippy types up there.”

They started cranking out the good stuff straight away: Message in a Bottle, Synchronicity II and Walking on the Moon – Sweeeeeet. Sting did crank into his set by jumping into the air and slapping his base hard – a feat his knees wouldn’t allow him to reattempt until the encore. I took the opportunity for a pit stop during Voices Inside My Head and When The World Is Running Down. We were quite close to the ablutions where great acoustics meant not a moment of music was missed. I danced and sang and thanked whichever person had got Sting and Copeland and Summers to finally hug and say, “We are all equals in this partnership, none of us is better than any of the others, we are all the same – except that we play different instruments and Sting writes most of the songs” so they could get on with the business of entertaining. It is a job they do exceedingly well, despite the fact they are all becoming more and more distinguished as every day passes.

The middle part of their set went like this: Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Driven To Tears, Hole In My Life, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Wrapped Around Your Finger, De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, and Invisible Sun. There was much dancing and singing within our small group as we bathed liberally in the soothing waters of this great band.

They finished off the main bulk of their concert with their first two singles Can’t Stand Losing You and Roxanne off the album Outlandos d’Amour. They would end up playing 5 songs of this most brilliant of debut albums – if you don’t own any Police albums, this is the one to get your hands on.

Of course they charged off after this, but it wasn’t long before they were back for their encore: King Of Pain, So Lonely (my favourite song of theirs) and finishing with Every Breath You Take. Mr. Sting and Mr. Copeland headed off again after this but good old Mr. Summers stayed out for a bit of solo stage time, waving and urging his fellow bandmates back out. When they didn’t he lunged into the opening guitar riff of Next To You. The others had to run to join him otherwise they may have looked a bit silly. On reflection, I think it may possibly have been part of the act…

It’s great that bands like the Police, and the Pixies (and I suppose the Eagles if you go for that sort of thing) are getting back together to rake in the cash. It gives the likes of me a chance to see bands I never thought I would. I am thankful to the music industry for creating the Retirement World Tour for maturing rock gods. I am waiting to see if Pink Floyd manage it… It would be worth trillions.

I strongly recommend the Police as a band you should go and see. The only full list of tour dates I could find (in over 7 minutes of looking) was on Wikipedia. My friend calls this the Fictionary – I’m assuming it is because of the content created by punters and not trained historians.

The Police are also playing the Isle of Wight festival in June. That should be a doozie.

Boon x

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Sir Ed & TVNZ

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Yesterday morning at 9am, the person I would call the greatest living New Zealander, passed on, leaving this mortal coil for greater adventures.

Sir Edmund Hillary was one of those unassuming people who represented this country with the mana that is missing from so many sportspeople, politicians and actor types. I don’t believe anyone will ever respect Russell Crowe the same way, no matter how many Oscars he wins or cellphones he throws.

I was stoked with our state broadcaster last evening. TVNZ ran a magical documentary about the life and work of Sir Ed – a documentary made even more magical by the deep and theatrical narration of Gandalf McKellen. It wasn’t until about halfway through I realised that TV1 hadn’t broken this documentary up with their usual commercial interludes every 6.5 minutes. Well done, I was thinking, top marks for TVNZ. This isn’t their usual course of behaviour – responsible television for the masses. Maybe they had changed their ways? Maybe they were turning a new leaf and planned on being the socially responsible network they are actually meant to be. Remember this was the same television network who passed on making a television series with Flight of the Conchords because they were unable to, “see why it is funny”. So much for a New Zealand state run broadcaster broadcasting New Zealand made television. HBO are ready to rock (or folk if you prefer) with a 2nd series which will probably be snapped up by the government run network so that no-one else can have it (dog in manger syndrome if you ask me, and thanks for asking).

I don’t know why I thought they had changed. Where my brain at???? Sure enough at 9.15pm on the day of Sir Edmund Hillary’s death, TVNZ ran an advert using examples of it’s coverage of the death to advertise One News. The geniuses in charge of the media unit up here in Auckland must have still been drunk from yuletide festivities to think that this was a good idea. Maybe it was a long day at the office. Full blanket coverage of the death of a national icon must take it out of a broadcaster more accustomed to reporting on the state weather or leading the hunt for the fiend who was responsible for stealing three oranges from the Pakuranga New World. I think maybe it was a bit too much to expect them to go a whole day on this sort of subject without putting a televisual foot firmly into the gaping chasm of their mouth.

Whether I am getting older and grumpier (at age 40, or thereabouts, a man begins morphing into his father), I took it upon myself to log onto the interweb and inform as many news organisations as I could. I don’t think anything much will happen from this course of action, but it made me feel better.

TVNZ – you are a sorry excuse for a broadcaster. You have been for many, many years. The sooner you give up and hand the job onto someone who can actually make decisions based on logic rather than money, the better. New Zealand would be a far better place if you guys all just packed up and moved to Australia, and thusly, as Sir Robert Muldoon so eloquently put it, increased the IQ of both nations.

Please feel free to complain to TVNZ about their monsterous cock-up. Click HERE and you will be taken to a page on their website where you can do this. They are useless and they must be told.

I promise to be less grumpy next time. I might talk about kittens or something.

Boon x

Holidays

I trust everyone had a spectacular Christmas with their family and/or loved ones. I was treated to a wonderful week and a half in the Nelson region of New Zealand.  As you can imagine this region was named after the one armed, half blind English admiral who managed to beat the French the same day he died. Good old French.

Christmas day was the usual intense family-based drink-a-thon, including the present opening parts and the I ate too much and sat in the sun and got sunburnt parts. Not that I got sunburnt parts from sitting outside, I just meant that I was…. I might just leave that justification there actually.

If you click HERE you will be taken, through the magical wonder that is the internet, to a series of electronic pictographs chronicling this most fantastic of holidays. Some of the pics actually look quite good.
I am now brown like Spike Lee, but I’m not planning at this stage to direct any controversial and hard-hitting biopics. I plan to relax for the rest of the holidays.

Have a super time if you are enjoying yourself. Remember to act responsibly, or if you can’t, act insanely, then people won’t bother you.

Boon x