Category Archives: Announcements

Run Out Groove

It’s been a couple of days now since I got the phone call from Sam, announcing that the forthcoming issue of Real Groove was to be its last. It’s being spun as a merger with its sister weekly publication The Groove Guide, but seeing as the new venture will retain the name, frequency and price tag of the latter I think at this point we can safely say that Real Groove is gone. I sincerely hope that the new publication manages to retain a lot of what made Real Groove matter to me and others, and would hope I’ll end up writing for it too – but while public relations demand that this be sold as a merger, common sense dictates that we call it what it is, and salute it appropriately.

Real Groove died on its 18th birthday – going out with the forthcoming Leonard Cohen issue and therefore having some kind of generational symmetry with its first incarnation, a two colour news-print in-store publication with Warren Zevon on its cover. While it initially focused on the blues and roots music which was its parent company Real Groovy’s bedrock, there was always room for everything within its pages – that same debut issue also featured Kerry Buchanan writing about Jimmy Cliff, hip hop and dance music.

While the blues/roots thing remained dominant through the first few issues, it wasn’t long before it started to mutate. As long-time contributor and columnist Gary Steel notes in his meditation on the magazine’s passing, each editor brought their own take on what mattered musically to the table. But I think what made the magazine special, at least to my eyes, was that for the most part it never valued one style of music over another, and fought the good fight for provocative criticism and artists who were either ignored, marginalised or derided by other publications. Continue reading



Filed under Announcements, Music

Live Blog: Q+A Super City Mayoralty Debate

DeadBall is going to Live Blog the Super City Mayoralty debate.Williams vs Banks vs Brown. And we’re off.

Holmes-y is in the big chair, and he’s pretty fired up. Hasn’t really mentioned the debate, he’s much more excited about the Labour leadership meltdown post the Chris Carter failed coup fiasco.

They’ve got some Mayor’s on hand to discuss the upcoming debate. Mad Bob Harvey and relentlessly perky Kerry Prendergast. Guessing they’re going to lean Brown-wards. Mostly I’m just gutted that Simon Praast didn’t get a spot. His policy of leading all coverage with his background as a P fiend and his legalise-all-drugs plan looked a surefire hit. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, LiveBlog

Giving Doug Golightly the Red Card

Doug Golightly

Doug Golightly, long the best excuse for sleeping til the afternoon on a Saturday morning, has now extended his monumental dull-wittedness into some new media, being appointed editor of Sky Sport: The Magazine. Full disclosure: Until very recently I was a contributor to the publication, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And just so people know it’s not sour grapes, I’ve had no communication with the new team, I just wouldn’t want my name anywhere near Golightly’s.

Sky Sport: The Magazine was created by Eric Young in 2007, it functioned as something like an Antipodean Sports Illustrated, running pieces at far greater length and depth than you’d see anywhere else in New Zealand sports journalism, and generally providng a counterpoint to the cloying, inarticulate blokeishness which permeates almost all coverage of sports in this country.

Features ran at anywhere up to 5,000 words or 14 pages, unheard of in New Zealand sports journalism, which tends to view any attempt to decode the romance or futility of sports as somehow antithetical. Young published Gary Smith’s incredible SI piece on Andre Agassi, following his retirement, which was written entirely in the second person. Writers like noted NZ playwright Greg McGee found a home in its pages, and Young was unafraid to seek out the best available voice on a topic – my first contributor credit came between following the name Steffi Graf.

There was amoment when I realised this magazine would be different. I remember asking Young after receiving my first assignment whether he wanted me to look for a sidebar, a piece of the story which could be broken off into a more easily digestible form. He dismissed the idea out of hand, even made me fel a little ridiculous for asking. At journalism school I was taught two things regarding sidebars. Firstly that they were a cheap, lazy way of hooking readers into a story when the writing didn’t measure up, and secondly that every editor I encountered would demand them. Not this one.

The strange thing was that this austere, old-fashioned approach bore spectacular fruit. Young recieved every award he was up for at Terry Maclean Sports Journalism awards, including Sports Journalist of the Year. The magazine was an instant, raging success. The most recently published Nielsen survey gave it 243,000 readers (to give you an idea of how large that figure is, it’s five times that of Real Groove, the publication I edit, double what celeb gossip mag NW and Auckland icon Metro can claim, and only 40,000 behind the grand old lady of New Zealand publishing, The Listener), and it was experiencing strong growth even as Young was being forced out of the publication which was his brainchild.

In his place comes Golightly, and on his first cover? Who else, but the injured, non-playing All Black captain Richie McCaw. The headline? Into Battle! Where exactly he’ll be battling isn’t specified. Just put the most famous guy on the cover, who cares whether he’s going to be involved in any sport this month. I wouldn’t mind betting that the days of seeing cyclists, triathletes, netballers and surfers on the cover are over.

Judging by the first issue, the magazine has already become indistinguishable from all the other areas Golightly holds sway. Prosaic, processional examinations of the game as it transpired, nothing more. His Radio Sport show is characterised by interminable interviews, with him stumbling around, barely asking a question, with all the charisma and intellect of that half-cut guy down the pub whose gaze you try and avoid.

Periodically he’ll bring up one of his tired old stand-bys, the ‘red card’, or ridicule anyone who opposes his perspective as a ‘lesbian tree-hugger’. He’s already set about politicising his sports magazine with an interview with John Key (extremely tedious too – I feel like he’s doing a reasonable job, but he’s clearly not a sports fan of any description) and, most mystifyingly of all, replacing Jeremy Coney’s column with one from WINSTON PETERS.

Am I dreaming? Jeremy Coney’s columns were a perpetual highlight of the magazine, erudite, compelling pieces of writing which talked of Harold Pinter’s love for cricket or drew lines between Snow White, Odysseus and the All Blacks. They were characterised by surreal anecdotes, dazzling leaps and the same kind of sparkling intellect which has long made his entry to the commentary booth such a delight.

And in his place we get Winston Peters, that most self-serving, career-before-country abomination of a politician, less than a year distant from his eviction fom parliament by the electorate after a series of  serious scandals, which tainted his very fibre and obliterated any shred of credibility. Golightly’s Muldoonist tendencies and rank cronyism bring him back in front of us. The only saving grace of the whole fiasco is that Peters has chosen his first column to celebrate the history of Maori rugby, an institution which has always rankled Golightly, who so loathes ‘racially selected teams’. Middle class white men have always been the staunchest defenders of ethnic equality.

The rest of the magazine is little better. The longest feature runs to six pages, and the entire thing is a mess of sidebars, TV listings and wacky facts, with none of the passion or vibrancy which characterised it under Young’s stewardship. Within one issue Golightly has drained the life from Sky Sport: The Magazine and suffused its spirit, turning it into an extended version of his Sunday News sports section, plodding, empty and riven with clichés. And New Zealand sport is much the poorer as a result.

– Duncan


Filed under Announcements, Dick-List, Reminiscing, Rugby

New Zealand's Next Top Model Finale Recap Thing

The moment of truth

The finale (read our scrappy liveblog here) was more of an elaborate coronation ceremony for Christobelle than any form of competition. It seemed pretty clear from very early on in the series that when it came to temperament, talent and The Look, Christobelle Grierson-Ryrie was what the judges wanted. She will now go down alongside NZ Idol winner Ben Lummis as our first champion in an odd local equivalent to an overseas reality tv phenom. Though it’s to be hoped she has a greater ceiling than the singer, who’s currently attempting a  second comeback with a single named Smooth Lady. Nice.

In another eerie parallel with our Idol debut, the people’s champ, and the most idenitifiably ‘New Zealand’ contestant came fourth. In an ideal world, Ruby would be introducing the first single from the third Luke Whaanga album on TV in 2010, but it seems entirely possible that she will fade from public view as swiftly as the beatboxin’ belter did – the word is now that the mooted presenter’s job on C4 is no longer likely. Which troubles me somewhat, as while the show was airing I was utterly convinced that her starpower was such that she would outshine the show. Now, with Christobelle being wheeled through various media outlets (or, occasionally, Laura being subbed in at the last minute, as happened to a bemused Charlotte Ryan on bFM this morning), Ruby’s future celebrity looks far less secure.

But the show itself has been a smash hit, and aside from Christobelle, the guaranteed stars of the piece are the three judges, who’ve all gone from relative obscurity to centre stage in a few short weeks. Which makes being able to publish these beautiful images all the more exciting. Because as, poised and stylish as they are now, it was hard road here, and all had to pass through the treacherous ’90s to get here, with none emerging unscathed… Continue reading


Filed under Announcements, Playoffs

COMING TONIGHT! Liveblogging the NZNTM Finale

New Zealand Next Top Model?

New Zealand Next Top Model?

By actual popular demand we’ll be liveblogging every minute of the finale of NZNTM tonight, with some contributors from Real Groove magazine, plus me and any deadballers who can make it. Will be using coveritlive, the same set up as isaaclikes use on their liveblogs of the series. Just so you know, we’re not attempting to bite their style, those guys do a great job from a fashion-centric standpoint; we’ll be treating it like the high drama sporting contest it is. So maybe keep both windows open.

The cool thing about coveritlive is the way viewers can interact via comments and polls as part of the flow of the commentary. So this will be a group effort guys. Post any suggestions/ideas/whatever flotsam or jetsam in the comments here, and come back from 7pm, we’ll try and do some real average pre-amble. It’ll be like Gameday before the league but sadly with less Steven McIvor. Reemember his work on that ‘find a cheerleader for the Warriors’ show? Lech. Regardless, it’s going to be a very, very good day.

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, LiveBlog

Back to the Future


Ladies and Gentlemen, Gilbert Arenas is back! OK, it may not be the best idea in the world. The Wizards season is pretty much over. Seems kinda dumb to bring back your star for nine games and risk further injury (prone does not even start to cover this guy). Why not cut your losses, give him more time and maybe give your franchise a little better odds when it comes to the draft lottery? I guess the Wizards could also use some ticket sales to raise some cash and this is the guy that’s gonna do it for you.

Anyway, here’s the action: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Basketball, NBA

The Phony War Is Over


(video irrelevant, I was just desperately trying to find something to distract from NZ’s recent on-field performance, and this worked best)

Hmmff. It seems that Short Of A Length has come out all guns blazing in the blog wars, ripping New Zealand a new one for a whole host of reasons – most, bizarrely involving Andrew Symonds (they’ve never really gotten over that little chat he had with Harbhajan over there, apparently). They’ve also asked the hard questions, like, for example, ‘Where are all the hobbits Duncan, WHERE. ARE. ALL. THE. HOBBITS???’. We’ll get to that in good time, ‘friend’.

For those mystified by the above paragraph, here’s a brief recap. While I was away sunning myself in Scotland a few weeks back I received an elecrtronic mail from a man named Antony Something-or-other, the CEO of a vast cricketing media organisation called Short Of A Length. The piece of correspondence cheerily challenged our own vast cricketing media organisation to a war of ‘words’ with his own, chiefly concerned with (but by no means limited to) the impending Indian tour of New Zealand. Being the charitable sorts that we are, we accepted graciously, despite the fact that we were fielding a solid second-string club side against an Indian squad which has at least seven future hall-of-famers amongst its number. That’s the sort of thing New Zealanders do, right? Gamely wander out to certain slaughter because, well, it’d be impolite not to. Then the unthinkable happened. Continue reading


Filed under Announcements, Cricket, News