Free Parking for improvisation in multiple environments.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

All around the water....

Pretty much went straight from work this afternoon to record some flugelhorn for Mr Bannerman, who is apparently planning an album sometime in 2005 (you heard it here first folks, although the Bannerman Brothers are likely to drop me into the Waitemata with a vintage amp tied to my ankles for revealing their plans... ) . And then spent a rather nice 2 hours helping out on the Cheer Bro Show on Fleet FM (88.3 FM if you're in within cooee of spaghetti junction, 107.3 in Welly or on the web - check the link).

And who remembers Pumpkinhead? I must have been 16 and easily influenced at the time, probably ingesting a little too much Cobain too, but hearing the chorus from Water again after ten years sure floated my boat.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Florida's Banana Republic

It could happen all over again... Jimmy Carter (still going strong) expressed his concerns about the continuing deficiencies in Florida's electoral system this week in the Washington Post. What's worst, it appears that these these gaps may be the result of deliberate neglect by state authorities who have a vested interest in a certain outcome in November:

"The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair....

...It was obvious that in 2000 these basic standards were not met in Florida, and there are disturbing signs that once again, as we prepare for a presidential election, some of the state's leading officials hold strong political biases that prevent necessary reforms."

Bring in the UN observers !

Lilburn for Africa

The 518 minute Radio New Zealand documentary Douglas Lilburn: The Landscape of a New Zealand Composer is available now on a 10 CD set from the Centre for NZ Music in Wellington.

Holy moley, this comes on top of Atoll's definitive 3CD set of Lilburn's Electro-Acoustic Works, which was released earlier this year. My joint review of this release in New Zealand Musician is here.

I think completists should be fairly satisfied.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Half a burger short of a....?

Russell Brown notes Miss New Zealand coming out (so to speak) against the proposed Civil Union Bill. Front page news in the NZ Herald? Gimme a break.

But then her eloquence won me over.

"It will be my generation who are going to sort out the effects of this legislation. This is why I'm here. I'd rather be at McDonald's eating burgers or something."

I'm sure Miss Sharee Adams is a lovely person, but if this is her level of argument, I'd rather she stayed out to lunch.

(Miss Adams, 24, is the daughter of United Future MP Paul Adams. )

Cheap Political Shot #1

Yabba yabba yabba Posted by Hello

Auckland mayoral candidate John Banks....

Yabba yabba yabba Posted by Hello

Resemblence is startling, eh?

Bergman for a Rainy Saturday

You'd have to be either intensely stupid or immensely ambitous to decide on impulse to rent and watch 5 hours of Ingmar Bergman, having never seen a Bergman film before in your life. But it looks like it's going to rain all weekend. Work has drained you of the desire to worship at the Turnaround with Manuel Bundy at Rising Sun, or check out Senor Cesar at Galatos, or Isaac and Kelly K blowing at Khuja. (Hell, even Scribes of Ra and the united forces of Wellington and Auckland Batucada couldn't get me out last Saturday night. I'm such a slacker). So. You rent Fanny and Alexander, and get blown away.

F&A is a moving and expansive film. Although set almost exclusively within the confines of two bourgeois families in Sweden in the early 20th Century, F&A is impressive in its sweep, conflating issues of power in marriage, family politics, faith, the nature of theatre, death, childhood and immorality into an epic that drew me in completely. Who cares that it takes 5 hours and two DVDs to get there?

Bergman's experience in live theatre is evdient throughout in the timing and rhythm of the scenes, the balance of dialogue, and the deliberate placement (blocking?) of actors within the camera frame. This film contains depiction of some of the most complex emotion I've ever seen in cinema. (I would have to see some more of his films to confirm whether this is a Bergman trademark). Perhaps the best example is the laughable to-ing and fro-ing between the childrens' uncle Carl and Helena, his wife from Munich. Their interactions swing within the space of seconds from physical revulsion to pathetic mutual fawning. Utterly extraordinary to watch two actors grapple with this incredibly difficult material, and make it convincing.

The children's stepfather, the austere protestant Bishop Vergerus, dominates the action of the second half of the film. What motivates him to treat his new wife and stepchildren with such chilling and cruel indifference? Is it a firm conviction in the righteousness of his particular interpretation of Christianity? Does Vergerus truly act out of "love", as he tells Alexander as he beats him and locks him in the attic? Is it a desire for power and order in his household? Is it some kind of sadistic psychosis? Is he genuinely in love with Emilie? I'm not sure if any of this is truly elaborated, nevertheless the portrayal of the Bishop by Jan Malmsjö.

Special mention must be made of the kids playing the titular roles of Fanny and Alexander. The character of Fanny remains something of a hollow shell, since most of the key action is viewed from Alexander's perspective (Alexander operates in this film as an analog for Bergman himself.) But her apparent strength and impassivity in the face of death, imprisonment and abuse provides a foil to the often emotional Alexander. Here's a ten year old who goes to pieces as he approaches his father on his deathbed, speaks to ghosts (no it's not a European T6S) and is beaten by his stepfather for failing to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Apparently there's a 5 disc F&A box set coming out in November, including the original cinematic release, the 5 hour edited-for-Swedish-TV version and the making-of doco Dokument Fanny och Alexander. Yoiks. I may have to clear the decks on my credit card.

I think I'll have to rent some more Bergman sometime, and hope that it lives up to my assessment of F&A....

Monday, September 27, 2004


The mechanics of storytelling generally demand a beginning, a middle and and end.

So, here's a beginning. Bon, voilà .