Category Archives: Book Review

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains – V&A Publications

The Exhibition Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains is an immersive journey through the world of Pink Floyd.  As with most shows at the Victoria &Albert Museum, it is touted to be an “indulgent and comprehensive” and by all accounts a highly popular and important experience.  Continue reading

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Good Vibrations – My Life As A Beach Boy – Mike Love (Book Review)

Mike Love tells his own jaundiced version of his legendary, raucous, and ultimately triumphant five-decade career as the front man of The Beach Boys, the most popular American band in history.  His own story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America’s most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries. Continue reading

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Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World – Billy Bragg (Faber)

Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World – by Billy Bragg / Faber and Faber $45

Told with joyous vigour, this book tells the story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthy witch-hunts. Billy Bragg traces how the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK and led directly to the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s. Continue reading

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Listen To Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson’s Press Conference

Under an almost complete cloak of silence investigative reporter Nicky Hager and war correspondent Jon Stephenson launched a new book last night that claims that New Zealand troops were involved in a botched raid in Afghanistan in 2010 that resulted in the deaths of 6 civilians and serious injury to 5 others. Continue reading

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Goneville – Nick Bollinger (AWA Press)

 

There are plenty of books available for the discerning music fan this time of year including new tomes by Robbie Robertson, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Marr.  But this season we have a locally-produced memoir that easily holds its own against those big-name music bios from across the waters.

As anyone who has heard his features on Radio New Zealand or read his reviews in The Listener knows, Nick Bollinger is one of this country’s most eloquent and knowledgeable music journalists. So it should come as no surprise to find that Goneville, his memoir about coming of age and participating in the New Zealand music scene of the 1970s is as well-written and illuminating as it is.

Nick deftly mixes his own personal experiences as a struggling musician with stories that frame the overall state of New Zealand music to shine a light on what was actually happening during a decade that saw huge changes in both the music itself and the business that helped deliver that music, particularly in the live scene.

At the end of the 1960s, much of New Zealand music was still just pallid attempts to recreate the sounds of the UK, US and Australia. But times were changing and by the end of the 70s, thanks in large part to punk, Kiwi musicians were finding their own voice.

Goneville is very much about that musical journey.

During the 1970s Bollinger wasn’t a spectator and commentator, but a participant, play bass in a number of touring bands, most notably Rough Justice, an r&b tinged covers band fronted by Rick Bryant.

Nick vividly writes about the unglamorous life on the road, spending hours cooped up on a bus, playing for hours in front of small, uninterested groups of pub patrons all the while wondering where the next meal is coming from.

Fortunately, there’s more to the story than just another version of Bob Seger’s Turn The Page. Nick shares plenty of his personal life…his first connections to music, the death of his father and the relationships with other musicians and friends that helped to shape his own ideas about music. Later in the book, he reveals his own participation in the social unrest of the early 1980s, particularly the 1981 Springboks tour.

Along the way there are plenty of humorous anecdotes…many of them with Rick Bryant as the main character…and insights into how the New Zealand music business worked in the 1970s.

It’s a fresh take on a story that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Marty Duda

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Grant & I, Inside And Outside The Go-Betweens: Robert Forster (Penguin)

 

Anyone interested in The Go-Betweens was probably uplifted by the wave of interest generated by co-founder Robert Forster’s recent NZ appearances and the publication of this book, his second. I know I was and what a warm and thoroughly welcome trip down memory lane it was. Continue reading

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Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand (Book Launch)

The 13th Floor’s Tim Gruar covered the launch of the book Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Here is his report:

Thursday night saw the release of a new book about the state, and future, of journalism in New Zealand.  At a special book launch and panel discussion held at the New Zealand School of Film and Television pioneering publishers Freerange Press, in conjunction with the Whitireia Journalism and Broadcasting School, presented Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Continue reading

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Sentinel (Book 1 of the ‘Sentinel’ Trilogy) (Book Review)

Sentinel Cover - Joshua WinningOur film critic Sarah McMullan does more than just sitting around watching films…she can read, too! Here she is with a review of Sentinel (Book 1 of the ‘Sentinel’ Trilogy) by Joshua Winning:

A savvy mix of magic, myth, folklore and classic teenage coming of age angst, a very basic starting synopsis could make Joshua Winning’s debut novel sound a little like another series of books about a boy called Harry and his magical hijinks at boarding school.

Click here to read the entire book review.

 

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