Febrero 04, 2003
Neil Finn

I went to hear Neil Finn play last night at the Phoenix. Most people in this country respond to that name with, "who"? I then elaborate, explaining that Neil Finn is, or was I suppose, the lead singer and chief songwriter of Crowded House. They then clue in, but don't seem overly impressed. Contrast this with the reaction to breathing the name in New Zealand, where Neil Finn is from and where he lives. Virtually everyone, and I do mean everyone, even your gran, can tell you he's from Teawamutu, a dairy town in the North Island, and now lives in Parnell, Auckland, before listing off a few dozen songs from his back catalogue. I therefore assumed, prior to last night, that love for Neil Finn's music was dependent on having a bit of Kiwi blood flowing through your veins (which I mercifully do) and that the audience would consist of a few backbackers and a dozen or so Mojo readers. How wrong I was.

Neil Finn has released two albums since Crowded House split up, the songs of which are in keeping with his tuneful, beautifully crafted, magnifencently sung tradition. I've yet to hear one played on a radio station in Toronto. Yet, the Phoenix was packed. Hundreds of people, middle-aged and young, conservative and club kids, rugby types and artsies, were all bloody loving Neil Finn. This in a country where I was under the clearly wrong assumption that nobody knew who the old fella was. These fine souls had done their own research, found out that Neil actually didn't die after Crowded House, had bought or downloaded his albums, and evidently enjoyed them as much as me. My illusions about love for Neil being linked to some Kiwiness were shattered.

I think that living in cities grants the power, or gives one more of a chance, to expose oneself to phenomenon that is not necessarily readily accessible. Perhaps this is obvious, but this thought struck me as I basked in the warm glow of Neil's peaceful music and looked at all these people enjoying themselves so mightily. It was reinforced by Neil himself when, between songs, he looked around and noticed some 102.1 The Edge posters hanging from the balconies. In a jovial, sarcastic tone, he said, "The Edge? They're an "alternative" station aren't they? Who wants their listening dictated to by a station that plays one kind of music? They've never played my records. Let's take them down. That's the way, just rip them off; they're not needed tonight". And sure enough, to laughter and applause, the posters were removed. It was a silly moment, but to me showed that if people only listened to The Edge for their musical intake, or any of the other distinctly average stations that the masses are subjected to, the concert never would have happened and Neil would be a dairy farmer. The free-flow of ideas amongst a densely packed mass of humanity that is a city rescued us last night from the mediocrity of Nickelback.

The poster incident struck another chord with me (no pun intended). Imagine if we'd been at a Limp Bizcuit or an Our Lady Peace concert, or any of the other faux-earnest, self-righteous, corporate-sponsored rage agents that this continent pumps out posing as musicians. If a Mix 99.9 or 104.5 poster had inadvertently found its way into the building, the bands, in their cock-chaffing way, would have incited their fans to "tear the shit out of those things", "Phil Collins is a fucking fag" etc etc. Humourless, gormless and agressive. It was such a welcome change to have a musician who is actually secure enough to be himself, crack jokes, let his band be individuals, and make a point without resorting to assinine, juvenile posing. Neil Finn, to use a fine New Zealand expression, is a good cunt.

Posted by Sting at Febrero 04, 2003 11:50 AM

I thought Neil Finn was Australian. Or was that just Crowded House?
I guess those New Zealanders have to claim at least one good thing as their own. Of course, they also claim sheep to be their own and we all know what they do with them ...

Posted by: Aries on Febrero 4, 2003 07:13 PM .

Fuck them in the ass, right?

Posted by: king on Febrero 5, 2003 03:26 AM .

You should be the one to tell us, mate! You're the one with the kiwi blood mercifully flowing through your veins (...and we all know where your blood is flowing to, King. WE ALL KNOW)!

Posted by: Aries on Febrero 5, 2003 04:54 AM .

My cock, right?

Posted by: king on Febrero 5, 2003 12:12 PM .

King is not Sting and therefore has no Kiwi blood flowing through him, much to his chagrin I'm sure. Australians are incapable of producing any sort of quality music, excpet for Men at Work of course and Crowded House was as Australian as Edmund Hilary. As in not at all. I'm most pleased to be able keep you well-informed Aries. Thanks for the "amusing" NZ joke by the way. Christ, I've never heard a sheep joke before! How creative...

Posted by: Sting on Febrero 6, 2003 02:05 PM .

My oh my, you do Sting, don't you? Is someone feeling a little defensive and sarcastic today?
Yes, I agree Sting, we Australians do seem momentarily unable to produce any sort of quality music ... but at least we're able to produce a high quality performance in certain other places ...

Posted by: Aries on Febrero 6, 2003 06:48 PM .

You mean sex, right?

Posted by: king on Febrero 6, 2003 10:16 PM .

I was feeling a little defensive and sarcastic yesterday for which I apologize. Being at a conference in the outer suburbs of a North American city tends to put one in a horrible mood, as I'm sure is true in Oz. As for sheep, I prefer to eat them over interfering with them sexually. I also like kangaroo meat. Do you like kangaroo meat Aries?

Posted by: Sting on Febrero 7, 2003 02:32 PM .

Dear Sting,
If you refer back to my previous entries in King's Bestiality Quiz, you will find the answer to your enquiry. Yes, I do like kangaroo meat (... but not in the sense that you are referring to). Down the road from my lovely abode you can actually buy a Roo Burger (consisting of a kangaroo meat patty slapped between two sesame seed buns). But, in this beastly planet of ours I find Kangaroos to be 'meat' worthy of pusuit, not consumption ... well, another form of consumption, I supppose . Just like men: kangaroos are so muscular and have such vitality (always hoping around, as they do). They are also highly skilled in reaching great speed and heights (important in certain places). And finally, they have such a long strong tool which is useful for so many purposes ...

Posted by: Aries on Febrero 8, 2003 08:13 PM .

PS. You say you like to eat sheep and kangaroo meat,Sting, but aren't you vegetarian?

Posted by: Aries on Febrero 8, 2003 08:15 PM .

I only eat what I have contempt for Aries, and at present I'm bordering on cannibalism. I hasten to add this has nothing to do with you, but merely a general comment on the ineptitude and idiocy of our fellow humans. It is, of course, Monday which may be a contributor to my despondency.

P.S. I admire your innuendo. You should check out a comic called "Viz", in particular a character called "Finbar Saunders and his Double Entendres". Most amusing.

Posted by: Sting on Febrero 10, 2003 06:15 PM .

Since Crowded House, Neil has released at least 4 albums: One All, One Nil, Seven Worlds Collide (Live), and Try Whistling This, plus his Finn (Brothers) collaboration with Tim. Prior to CH, Neil was with Split Enz from 1976 to their disbanding around 1984/5. ALL of their albums were great. And just as Neil solo does not sound like CH, CH did not sound like the Enz. Neil's DVD MCed by David Byrne is really good too.

Posted by: essar3 on Marzo 7, 2003 02:55 PM .
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