Saturday, 29 October 2011

Britain, NZ, Customer Service and Product Variety (or a lack of)

I've been back in the motherland for a whole week, but it's been rather busy, and normal life has resumed only over the last couple of days. So it was only yesterday going shopping in town that I was struck by a couple of differences between here, the UK, and New Zealand.

The thing is, Britain does seem like the Land That Customer Service Forgot. On our visit last year, Kiwi Ex-Girlf was a little shocked at how poor the customer service was - you go into a shop, and there's usually no-one around to help, and even if there is they don't offer any anyway. It's a far cry from New Zealand and/or Wellington, where within the first 120 seconds of entering a shop/store, you'll be ambushed by someone asking if they can help you at all. They're cosy like that, New Zealanders.

As far as I know it's a personal space thing. In Britain, we've evolved over decades to be wary and cautious of others' personal space - in Tesco for instance, the woman at the deli counter didn't even acknowledge me until she was sure I had finished looking at the types of ham and wanted to talk to her. What comes across as being rude or dismissive (and in the case of surly teenage shop assistants, it can genuinely be these things) is actually just the instinct to give a respectful amount of personal space.

I can see both sides of the coin. For most of my life, I was always annoyed if anyone approached or talked to me in a shop - I'm just doing my thing, leave me alone, aaargh! - but have now learned to cope in the same way  as with chuggers* ("no thanks, I'm okay ta" covers it 9 times out of 10). And every now and again, as happened yesterday in Boots, I wanted to ask someone for help and there were no shop assistants anywhere to be seen.

While it's not all about personal space, I do find it ironic - one topic of discussion amongst our international friends is about exactly that in NZ, and how Kiwis feel much more comfortable if you talk at a distance of a few feet (or, preferably, metres). Yet NZ is a country with customer service by a human being deeply ingrained in its culture still.***

The other difference is that of product variety. Again, what I've found is quite counter-intuitive - you would expect Britain and Europe, with their huge markets, to have a vast array of product choice, and little old New Zealand that has to import everything to have not much. For the most part this is correct.

So imagine my bafflement when I went out to the supermarket and tried looking for a sliced loaf of soy linseed bread, or dark rye bread, or even any actual type of bread. Britain doesn't have them. What Britain has is a) white, b) brown/wholemeal, c) rather spurious "best of both" varieties which are brand products invented by the manufacturer.

Now, this is on one visit to the supermarket (Tesco****) in Chelmsford, on the back of 3 years shopping mostly in Wellington New World supermarkets. So it's not very scientific. However, my reasoning is a) From memory, both Chelmsford Tescos and Wellington New Worlds are representative of their chains around their countries, and b) Tesco and Chelmsford occupy very similar spaces in their respective markets (I wouldn't be surprised if Tesco gobbles up New World in 20 or 30 years).

Also it fits with other products, like chocolate and beer. While the UK obviously has more producers and outlets for products, and thus a large variety in the market as a whole, the average choices by the main manufacturers on a supermarket shelf are actually smaller. New Zealand's primary chocolate makers, Cadbury's and Whittaker's, have far more varieties of chocolate than Britain's standard choices of white, milk and dark.

Similarly for beer: what you have in the UK is that Carlsberg make Carlsberg lager, Carling make Carling lager, Stella make Stella lager, and so on and so on. Whereas on most NZ supermarket shelves you'll find Mac's and Monteith's each make a red beer, white beer, black beer, pilsner etc. In Wellington, we have thankfully have access to many more smaller breweries like Tuatara who also have 5 or 6 different types of beer. Even the lager-only breweries like Tui, Speight's and Steinlager have more varieties of their lager than British lager brands.

Having said that, no country - not even New Zealand - has the same real ale culture that Britain does, which I intend to make full use of while I'm here. Good day!

*Eurgh. Chuggers seem to inhabit both the UK and NZ. I'm sure there are worse crimes, like being a mime in pubic, but they still definitely deserve to be dropped in the scorpion pit.**

** Except you T, if you're reading this! I'll spare you ;)

*** Even to the point where there are no photobooths in the entire country, as far as I can work out. I still think getting a human being to physically take your passport photo is quite quite unnecessary.

**** I agree with my mother's view that Tesco is Evil and Trying To Take Over The World, and yet here we are after all these years, still shopping at Tesco - fail.

Friday, 21 October 2011

CHC Airport

So here I am, in transit again, waiting for another international flight to take me back to the motherland for another visit. This has been my longest time away from “home” (UK home, i.e. Essex/friends/whanau) ever, 13 months. The circumstances are quite quite different since the last visit, but then, aren’t they always.

In some ways, I’m very glad to be here. This week … let’s just say, if you’d had the week I’d had, you would have wished you’d had a different week. I might talk about it once things have settled.

In fact it’s not even over yet – 36hr flight (4 hours down!), stag party the next day, not to mention THE RUGBY. I’m not a sport person but you’d have to be cruel not to want the All Blacks to win. Apart from the French simply playing badly this tournament, NZ has had a shocker of a year and deserves something to cheer it up.* I wonder if Prime Minister John Key is having very serious discussions with the French rugby board.

Christchurch airport is as artificial and soulless as any international airport, but for some reason I don’t mind it so much – perhaps it’s part of becoming used to waiting. This is the 7th mega long-haul flight**, i.e. 28-40hrs, that I’ve made in my life, and while they don’t get any less exhausting, coping with boredom does become easier. Also modern airports have shops and if you sacrifice enough money to the Airport Gods, you can keep yourself watered and fed nicely and pick up some essential items you forgot. (Personally I wouldn’t waste money in the gift shops though.)

I was here once before in April 2003, leaving New Zealand after 31 days. I think I’d overdosed on scenery and was fairly happy to be moving on. Can’t remember anything about the airport – I assume there were less flat screens around then. At the time, SARS was scaring the shit out of everyone, and the US and UK were busy blowing up Iraq. There’s no particular travel scare at the moment, yet security measures are tighter now I think.

Edit – I wrote this entire blog post out before remembering this city has had not 1 but 2 massive earthquakes in the last year or so (along with all the 7000ish medium and little ones). Needless to say, the fact I hadn’t even thought about it illustrates how reassuringly normal everything seems. In fact the only clue was a very large construction area which I hadn’t even considered was to do with the earthquake.

I have a lot of hopes and goals in the next few weeks. The biggest one is just being there for my brother’s wedding next week. Then there’s seeing friends and family, including some I didn’t manage to catch last year. Another one is just chilling the hell out – it’s been a pretty stressful month. I’m keen to see people, but if I don’t respond well to being ordered to meet up somewhere, that’s why.

However, right here, right now, my wish is simply that AirAsia are on time and that I catch my connecting flight in KL – particularly after last years’s debacle with Aeroflot and Fortress Moscow Airport. Given the number of Russian women employed to shout “take off your shoes!” at passengers, it’s not a high bar!

Over and out for now

*I realise it’s just a game, and my cynical self would laugh at the idea of a nation’s entire mood being dependent on a sports result. That’s what Australians do. But NZ winning the rugby world cup would be a damn sight more important than the royal bloody wedding.

**March 2003: Heathrow -> LAX -> Tahiti -> Rarotonga
October 2008: Heathrow -> Hong Kong -> Auckland
September 2009: Auckland -> Hong Kong -> Heathrow
October 2009: Heathrow -> Hong Kong -> Auckland
August 2010: Wellington -> Auckland -> Shanghai -> Moscow -> Heathrow
September 2010: Heathrow -> Moscow -> Shanghai -> Auckland -> Wellington
October 2011: Wellington -> Christchurch (right now) -> Kuala Lumpur -> Stansted

Monday, 17 October 2011

Changing priorities - stepping back from the music, for now

I tried writing this blog without letting it turn into an emo whinge-fest, then it turned into an emo whinge-fest. I am very good at them but what do they achieve?

Anyway this is a brief note to say I am going to ease up on the music for the foreseeable future to focus on other things.

I jokingly call myself an "ideas generator", but it's with good reason, and it is just as much a boon as a curse. As an example, here's a farcical list of creative things, in no particular order, I want to do:
  • Record album "Airfix Democracies"
  • Release the raw audio of the entire album as part of "Project Airfix"
  • Write and record album "To The Greater Glory Of"
  • Write and record EP "The Great British Public"
  • Record untitled straight-up rock EP (featuring "Alchemy" and "The Hype Of Yesteryear")
  • Write and record album "Cultuur Sugoi"
  • Record Acoustic Warrior dance-rock EP "BELIEVE IT OR PERISH, BITCHES"
  • Record "Without Fear" with full band production
  • Write and self-publish novel "HYPER"
  • Write and self-publish follow-up novel to "HYPER"
  • Write series of short stories about time travel in the South Pacific
  • Write more short stories featuring Sir Ralph Beef Wellington
  • Make a short animated video for Jimmy The Dolphin And The Metric Squid
  • Make a short animated video for Jesus And The All-Stars Episode 1
  • Write more short stories for Jesus And The All-Stars
  • Record audiobooks for NO UP, NO LIES and NO NEVER
  • Create graphic novels for NO UP, NO LIES and NO NEVER
  • Work towards animated feature films for NO UP, NO LIES and NO NEVER
Every single one of these things will take a lot of time and effort to make and do properly. None of them will make me any money in the short term, and probably not in the long term either. And there is no way in hell I am slogging my guts out trying to get signed/published etc. by the mainstream recording and publishing industries - not when:

  1. those industries are about as welcoming as a castle with the drawbridge up
  2. my books are too weird to be commercial, and my music isn't even being downloaded for free, and
  3. especially not when both of those industries are in complete disarray in the age of downloads. The established industry did nothing for people like me before downloads, and now downloads are here there seems to be no reliable business models for the future.
Okay that got a bit emo whinge-festy. What can I say, I'm a pom. It comes naturally.

If I was to be cynical and self-critical, I could say that all the time I've spent/wasted on music and books the last few years I could have dedicated to gaining proper employment and progressing some kind of career. I think considering the overall scheme of things that might not have been a bad idea. Hell, maybe a real human being would have been able to do both.

It's not that I haven't spent a large amount of time in these 3 years applying for and getting rejected from jobs. I just have a feeling a lot of my friends and family wanted to tell me all along that perhaps my priorities were wrong, but being kind and generous people, they didn't say it and supported me in my teenage adventures in writing and music. Oh well.

Music is my passion first and foremost. I will continue to make music, or at least write songs with drums, bass and rock guitars, and the one thing I still really really want to do is record and release Airfix Democracies - it'll be my first full-length full-production album ever after 12 years of being in music. I'm hoping I can make this happen in 2012 - maybe there'll be a music video to go with it, maybe not; probably with some kind of album launch party, although not necessarily.

Beyond this I'll definitely continue to write, make and record music, but probably not in the pattern I've done so far. Maybe I'll record stuff and just pump it out there to the internet - as you can see from the list, I've got more than enough songs to be getting on with, and maybe without the pressure of official releases I can actually be more productive.

What I need to focus on in the near-to-mid future are 2 things:

1) My web skills, which are not quite up-to-scratch in terms of employability. I have admittedly not been spending time on it and this shows. I also get laughed at by web people when I mention my website has an iFrame - quite unfairly in my view, because I think it's suitable in terms of layout and function, but I accept I need to revamp the site into something a bit more modern.

2) Something completely different. I may just have a cunning plan...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Not leaving twice, coming home twice

I was thinking about the fact that I'm leaving NZ next week, and that after originally planning to leave for good in June, I had actually moved my flight to October - but kept my plan to leave permanently. It was around May or June I think I realised I could stay and that I wanted to stay here in Wellington (the details and time stamps are probably in one of these messy anxious blog posts here).

But still, the concept of leaving stuck in my head. Then of course it occurred to me that I am leaving the UK as well, 4 weeks after I land. Both of these things are not only sad, they are meaningful - symptomatic of how uncertain my situation has been and still is, and that even temporary moves mean leaving things behind.

When I came over to NZ originally, and knew more about what I was doing on my return to the UK in 2009 than what the hell I was going to do in Wellington for 11 months, I had in my head the idea of signing off with the video for "London Calling". (Imaginative, because that's where I was going next. So so clever.)

London is apparently at the moment a wasteland of rioters and jobless hopelessness(-ess-ess), according to this year, so I'm not sure I'll be signing up to some box flat in Brixton or Highbury any time soon. But in melodramatic moments (much like this blog post) I've pondered about appropriate songs to leave on.

"Leave This Town" by the Levellers is a song that's stuck with me, being on the notable British mid-90s folk-rock-punk album "Zeitgeist". But while the sentiments are indeed about the need to move and move on, they are also primarily about being glad to go, being glad to leave some fictional grey and dismal town - i.e. far more appropriate for when I left Chelmsford, Essex* in the first place, than leaving vibrant and cultural Wellington. (In case it needs saying, I am never talking about my friends or family when I mention my dislike of Chelmsford or Essex.) I will have to move on from Wellington permanently at some point, and it's very unlikely that I will be glad to do so.

Anyway. This is all getting very tedious and dull isn't it?

The gist is: I realised that I am not leaving twice, I am coming home twice, which is something even fortunate people don't get to do. In setting up semi-permanent shop here in New Zealand, yet being denied residency (for now) by those cold vampires and call-centre morons in Immigration NZ, I can't say the word "home" without having to check myself - do I mean the UK? Or do I mean Wellington? The answer is both. The word has become as truly ambiguous for me as the word "can" (tin can? or I can I can't?) and other examples of appalling administrative laziness in the English language.

So here are 2 songs which come to mind for these coming weeks, which I am glad to share with you: "Welcome Home" by Scottish indie-rock band Idlewild, and "Welcome Home" by New Zealand singer/songwriter Dave Dobbyn.

I know that Kiwis will be facepalming right now, having probably heard this song X zillion times and probably thinking it's highly overrated and mediocre cheese. But I guarantee that my most of my friends in the UK, Europe, America and elsewhere will not have heard it, and while it's a little bit cheesy, I like it. Even if you aren't a Kiwi, and you don't get the notion of leaving somewhere (as many Kiwis do at some point or other) and knowing that your own country - whatever it is, and whatever it means, whichever peoples live there, a tiny pair of islands in the corner of the world - is waiting for you, and you don't get the line about a woman whose hands are trembling singing "haere mai", even if you don't get all of that, it's still a nice song.

The other song is less nostalgic but more personal to me, being by Idlewild, a band I grew up with and still love to this day. Singer & lyricist Roody Woomble has a wonderful way with words, poetic but simple and understandable, and while some die-hard early-years Idlewild fans might deride it as a pedestrian song on what is definitely not their best album, I really like it. It's simple and honest and happy, and that's what any welcome home should be.

So there we go. See you soon, and see you soon.

*Chelmsford has, according to my brief visits and my Facebook feed, improved a lot since I left. The cultural scene is more diverse and now visibly supported by the same borough council which once seemed to shit on live music. I'm not sure they've got rid of all the chavs, thugs, racists, homophobes and meatheads yet, but it does sound like there is more to occupy intelligent interesting people than there was.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Damn you Rena for delaying my music video

Oil spills are never fun, and the only good use the wreck of the Rena might have is possibly to deter more deep sea drilling which the current NZ governing party National are so keen on. Hopefully the scars on some of the world's most pristine, magazine-cover beaches in the Bay of Plenty will mean public outcry to any planned deep sea drilling in NZ is that much louder.

However, after the single launch last Saturday and my previous blog post, I am sad to say that the music video premiere has had to be postponed until probably early December.

You may remember in the Lighthouses music video, we all got to go in an actual lighthouse - this was down to our good friends working at Maritime NZ and very kindly borrowing the keys. Totally awesome.

Less awesome is that now some idiot crashed a tanker on a well-known reef, one of those friends has been called up to help out with the oil spill situation up North, and they are a key person on the Sunshine music video which is not finished yet. To them I say go forth, help save New Zealand!

Hopefully with the aid of modern technology we can finish it while I'm in the UK, meaning that when I get back to NZ late November, it'll be polished and perfect and fit for a premiere.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

And that was a single launch.

This blog is essentially a vast list of thank yous to wonderful people.

I don't think the word "symmetry" covers things that come in threes, but to hell with it, there was a sense of symmetry with the SUNSHINE single launch on Saturday. I fly off to the UK soon, with 3 years in NZ under my belt and not a huge amount of certainty what happens after that, so it felt especially good to have a 3rd single launch party, playing with the same 3 guys, with a huge bunch of friends, at Bar Medusa.

Here is a list of thank yous in no particular order (with helpful titles)

Tod, Gareth and Danny are 3 legendary fellows and I love them very much. Once again they stepped up to play a gig with me for little more than a case of Double Brown and the promise of a sweaty hug onstage. Without fail they played like the blinding musicians they are, and without them this gig would not have happened. Cheers guys.
Most of the time they play in an amazing band called "Throw It To The Fire" - think indie-jazz-rock you can dance to, played by Eddie Vedder/Queen, and you're somewhere close. Worth clicking like on Facebook and also hanging out for their awesome debut EP in the pipeline.


The Lucid Effect is more of a human being called Declan than an effect, and what a wonderful musician he is. I once considered looping and abandoned the idea on the grounds that you can't create full flowing songs with it, then I met this guy and he absolutely trashes that concept to the ground. See him, hear him, enjoy him aurally.

Snap Crackle & Pop are like pop, rock and punk all mixed together, except unlike Blink182 they have the rights bits of each one. It was a pleasure to have them on the bill and play a full-on hydraulic pumping set of noise-rock-dance-tunes. Catch them soon.

Then of course there is Sophie and the Realistic Expectations. These intrepid musical bastards are colleagues and friends in the world of Wellington music and it's startingly awesome to have them play - not just one set, but a 2nd at the end of the evening. Despite thinking I'd trashed my lungs in our set, somehow I found them again to scream along the high notes of "Tenderness" and was even ordered up onstage to sing the 2nd verse of "Easy". All I wanted to do was show I knew the second verse!

Just as he did at the Lighthouses launch party, our friend Jay manned the webcam without question the entire night, checking & tweaking, ensuring everything was going out live on the interwebs. I first got the idea for doing this after watching The Library Suits playing at Barhouse (now Hooga) in Chelmsford, Essex, while sitting in bed with breakfast here in Wellington. I genuinely believe this is part of the future of live music. If or how there's any money in it, and whether or not it will be venues or bands, I cannot say. But we have the technology, kids, to let people all over the world watch awesome live rock music, and I think it's awesome. Without Jay, our friends and family in UK, around NZ and all over the world (well, not sure if anyone was watching on the US East coast at 6am, but still...) would not have been able to watch it online - thank you so much sir.

Veli (@HoccusFoccus) is a tall Finnish chap who is responsible for recording every single song from both previous launch parties, and now for recording footage from this launch party as well. One of the biggest things I regret about my former band F451 is not getting enough live footage as a record to show what we were like and how much we rocked (there is one video here, actually). It's much easier now, with every camera having some kind of video mode (as my friends know full well!), but there is still no substitute for quality and Veli is a master at what he does. I can't promise when, but at some point in the next few weeks, live clips from this gig will be going up on the interweb - hopefully all 12 tracks - so keep an eye out, and thank you once again Veli.

Tamara is a legend who puts 6000% of herself into this little music venue and has made it the awesome place that it is. Tamara's put up with my nonsense for ages and was kind enough to give me a Saturday night for the launch. Go there, enjoy live bands, support Tamara and the bar by drinking vast amounts, and order a Flaming Moe. Just avoid the Jager, or you might end up on the bar grinding like a no-good hooker. Unless of course you like that kind of thing. Cheers Tam.

Charlie is a wicked sound guy, and put up with us having 4 completely different bands with completely different needs in 1 night and mixed everyone perfectly. I even asked for 6000 fucktonnes of myself in the monitors - like any self-respecting egotistical singer would - and to my absolute surprise he actually found it. Very talented man and legend.

Along with those Holograms, I now am bandmates with this wonderful girl who wrote the magical song "Winter Boyfriend" without being a singer or playing an instrument. Chiara spent about 89 hours cutting out dinosaur decorations for me and even, when I was stressed out and cried "My kingdom for a shoulder rub!", helped me out knowing full well I don't have a kingdom or even any kind of real estate at all. Expect magical musical things from this awesome wonderful lady.

It was a party, and lo, did the wonderful Bex provide awesome face painting. I wanted face painting and I'd totally do it again!

Once again I put out the call for cake, and once again the Knights of Baking came to the rescue - huge thanks to all of you guys, particularly Ms. Hilaire and (again) Chiaratown for her death-by-mocha cake. I am indebted to you, knights.

...and I guess everyone else, but I'll be honest - I spent an ungodly amount of money on posters for this night, and as far as I know, they didn't actually bring anyone. Which may be dispiriting to some, until you think about this: the entire crowd was made up of people I know who had told other people I know and who were singing and dancing and jumping around with people I know. So I don't think I am any more famous in Wellington than I was and I don't think I gained any new fans from the night, but I did spend one of my most enjoyable gigs ever with people I care about and who apparently care about me, which is WAY awesome.

There is another person and group of people I would like to thank on here, but I can't - because the music video for SUNSHINE is not quite finished yet, and it is not out. But it will be soon. Friends & chums, you'll get a note about a (probably low-key) premiere in the next week or so, everyone else watch this space and you might be able to catch it live on the internet. Rest assured people, you will get a shout out!

Anyway I think that's about all for this blog post, sorry if I missed anyone. What a great night. If any of you would like to do me a favour, download the track free and tell your friends to download it too. Making money from my music isn't important to me, but I do like people to hear it.

Until next time, you sexy sexy people.

Image pinched from Ed's Twitter stream. Hope he doesn't mind. Thanks Ed!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

SUNSHINE out now. I'm going onstage.

The single SUNSHINE is now available for download, free or pay as you like. Win! Snap Crackle & Pop have just finished a heroic set. I'm going onstage. See you on this here player right now!

#Sunshinesingle LIVE video now

We are live on the internet right now!
Currently The Lucid Effect just finished his awesome set, Sophie REX up now! Cake lollies balloons and all the rest of it. Huzzah for the internet!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Why I'm proud of "Sunshine"

The recorded song "Sunshine" is finally here. It has light, power, energy and space.

I am sitting here 3 days out from the Sunshine single launch party, worrying this and that and the other: about finishing the b-side "It's Not The Wine...", about getting decorations sorted, about buying things I need for the night, about why I haven't done enough promotion, about why I haven't worked hard enough on anything, etc. etc. So I thought I would take a (short) break from worrying and write about why I am very proud of this song that I have recorded and what I like about it.
  • Drums - There is no real substitute for recording real drums played by a real drummer, but I feel I've the drums on Sunshine are my best yet. In an ideal world I would have a whole day in a studio with Jon from The Library Suits or Tod from Throw It To The Fire pounding the crap out of an awesome kit, and get Neak Menter to record and produce it all. However, back in the real world of getting stuff done in a solo project, I've spent time and energy tweaking almost every single one of those drums hits to make it sound fresh, dynamic and powerful. (Well, I may have pinched some of the instrumental fills from Dinosaurs. But they still sound great.) I think I've done a good job.
  • Bass - The basslines in the verse and the chorus are two of my favourite basslines I've ever written. There are flicks and riffs and chunky progressions. There is funk, and soul, and life. Those high notes in the chorus are one of the best parts of the whole song.
  • I've used all the tricks I've learnt from producing music in the last 2 years (with some good advice from good friends) - from manually plotting the pitch to make those weird noises in the musical breaks (stuff you can hear back in "Without Fear"), to adding that awesome spaced-out synth in the post-chorus, to using EQ and compression to master the track so that it sounds loud enough and acceptable enough on anything from a large 70s stereo to an mp3 player headphones. Real producers and people who know music will be shaking their heads but this is my best effort so far and I like it.
  • Backing vocals - this song has the awesome backing vocals of Tod Robertson and Danny Droutsos (from Throw It To The Fire) and Chiara LaRotonda (@allchiara and singer of "Winter Boyfriend") and it sounds amazing. Those choruses are meant to sound massive, and - particularly with that harmony provided by Chiara - these good people make something that I never could or would have on my own. Cheers guys.
  • It is an EPIC POP SONG. Seriously, it's 5mins long, and while it's not quite the Lord Of The Rings of indie-rock, it's big and complicated enough that despite being one of my most radio-friendly songs, it would never be played on the radio even if I was bothered enough to try. And I like that. This song is not original, but it is individual. It is bold and big and fun and ridiculous and catchy and it is mine.
Right. Time to stop being emo, get some sleep, and get shit done in 72 hours. Challenge Anneka anyone?

The song is available for free/pay-as-you-like download this Saturday 8th October 2011 (NZ evening time). But you can hit that share button, if you like the song, any time you like.

Another test...

Test test test!

Sunshine single now online

Huzzah! The recording of "Sunshine" is now online at my Bandcamp for you to have a listen to before the release on Saturday. Result! Get in! More sport-related "win" expressions!


I Believe In Dinosaurs LIVE at Lighthouses single launch

FINALLY! You can tell I've been rushing through these before uploading the "Sunshine" single ahead of this Saturday's launch party. Live video of the wonderful I Believe In Dinosaurs from the Lighthouses launch night. This is one of the most fun times in my 12 years playing music - as you can see we had a good time. Naturally, epic thanks to @HoccusFoccus for filming and those awesome awesome guys Tod, Gareth and Danny from Throw It To The Fire playing. Cheers!

Free downloads of the Lighthouses single

The Magnificent 20 LIVE at Lighthouses single launch

Live video of the encore, The Magnificent 20 from the Lighthouses launch night. It's a nice, fun, cheeky little rockout instrumental. As always, huge thanks to @HoccusFoccus for filming and Tod, Gareth and Danny from Throw It To The Fire playing. Cheers guys!

Free downloads of the Lighthouses single

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Lighthouses video LIVE at Lighthouses launch

Live video of the single itself LIGHTHOUSES from the Lighthouses launch night. It's a great song and it's always a pleasure to play it live rocked up with the guys. As always, huge thanks to @HoccusFoccus for filming and Tod, Gareth and Danny from Throw It To The Fire playing. Cheers guys!

Free downloads of the Lighthouses single and Without Fear album (including the first version of Lighthouses):

Monday, 3 October 2011

International webcast times for #sunshinesingle

It gives me great pleasure in these modern electronic times to broadcast this here SUNSHINE single launch at Bar Medusa, Wellington Saturday 8th October to the whole world via the internet.

Whether you live in the UK, Australia, US West coast, or even just somewhere else in New Zealand and would like to watch the gig, below are the line-up times for a few popular time zones: NZ, UK, AUS, US West + East coasts, Japan, India. Don't worry - I've worked out summer times so you don't have to!

Just go to and, all going to plan, it should be streaming live on there. I'll also post a player here on the blog on the night.

ALL times are for Saturday 8th October. How con-weee-nient!

New Zealand NZDST (UTC +13) - Evening

8:30pm DOORS
8:45pm The Lucid Effect
9:25pm Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
10:10pm Snap Crackle & Pop
11:00pm Jez Kemp & Holograms

British Summer Time BST (UTC +1) - Morning

8:30am DOORS
8:45am The Lucid Effect
9:25am Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
10:10am Snap Crackle & Pop
11:00am Jez Kemp & Holograms

Australian Eastern Summer Time (UTC +11) - Early evening6:30am DOORS
6:45am The Lucid Effect
7:25am Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
8:10am Snap Crackle & Pop
9:00am Jez Kemp & Holograms

European Summer Time CEST (UTC +2) - Late morning

9:30am DOORS
9:45am The Lucid Effect
10:25am Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
11:10am Snap Crackle & Pop
12:00pm Jez Kemp & Holograms

US Summer Time – West Coast (UTC -7) - Middle of the night before/very early morning12:30am DOORS
12:45am The Lucid Effect
1:25am Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
2:10am Snap Crackle & Pop
3:00am Jez Kemp & Holograms

US Summer Time – East Coast (UTC -4) - Very early morning

3:30am DOORS
3:45am The Lucid Effect
4:25am Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
5:10am Snap Crackle & Pop
6:00am Jez Kemp & Holograms

Japan Standard Time (UTC +9) - Late afternoon

4:30pm DOORS
4:45pm The Lucid Effect
5:25pm Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
6:10pm Snap Crackle & Pop
7:00pm Jez Kemp & Holograms

India Standard Time (UTC +5.5) - Early afternoon

1:00pm DOORS
1:15pm The Lucid Effect
1:55pm Sophie & The Realistic Expectations
2:40pm Snap Crackle & Pop
3:30pm Jez Kemp & Holograms