Martini Music – Samoa benefit

October 12, 2009

What a fabulous line-up and what a great ticket price. I don’t think we can get Martinis at Vector, but this concert will fly with a beer or two.

Vector Arena is hosting a benefit concert to raise funds for rebuilding the lives of people affected by the recent Tsunami that hit Samoa.

samoa concert

After the tragic events in Samoa last week, a group of top New Zealand entertainers have rallied together for a massive benefit concert on Monday 19th October 2009 at the Vector Arena in Auckland.

When the Tsunami hit Samoa last week, it personally affected Scribe and Savage who lost their family villages and family members in the disaster. Along with Dawn Raid, Oscar Kightley and Ole Maiava, they rapidly organized a dream line up of top NZ musicians who had no hesitation in donating their performances to this worthy cause.

All businesses, personnel and artists have given their services for free, therefore 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Samoa.

We urge all New Zealanders to support this event to aid our fellow citizens of Samoa.

Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin dates and line ups to be announced shortly

Martini Music – this week’s easy listening

May 2, 2009

A very quick post, just to suggest Nouvelle Vague again. Nouvelle Vague is Marc Collin and Oliver Libaux and a whole bunch of collaborators from around the world.

Just picked up the first Nouvelle Vague release – remixed favourites with a groovy bossa nova beat.

The tracklist on this CD is another selection of 80s hits from Depeche Mode, The Clash, Jello Biafra, XTC, The Specials and many more. I’m taken with these guys. They have a smooth sensibility and a sense of fun. In this clip they’re covering Joy Division’s Love will tear us apart.

You can’t really take them too seriously, but they are clever. Remaking some punk and new wave/new romantic music that both showcases the richness of the original and the timelessness of a good beat, great rhythm and a nice vocal attack.

Also, for Mother’s Day: Leonard Cohen live. Old master Leonard Cohen did a world tour in 2008/2009 after nearly two decades of not travelling. Cohen and his band were fantastic. I was lucky enough to see them in Auckland.

I took my 76 year-old mother and she loved it. I found out accidentally she was a Leonard Cohen fan and the concert even converted my father, who claims that there’s been no good music recorded since Shirley Bassey.

He was tapping his feet and at the end admitted he was impressed.

This release is from the July 2008 London concert and the playlist is pretty much what he did in Auckland too. The arrangements are wonderful and the musicians absolutely top class.

There’s an official DVD release too, but I prefer the crowd-sourced stuff from YouTube. It’s raw, but you also get a sense of the power of Leonard Cohen. He’s the same age as my dad, but can sing a whole lot better (no offence pop, if you read this).

In case you’re curious, Ethical Martini buys his music from Record Time in Orakei. The people in the store know music and they’re incredibly helpful. They will find stuff for you and it’s a pleasure talking to them, plus they have a loyalty card system. I just cashed in $30 so didn’t have to pay much for this week’s purchases.

Martini Music: something old, something new, something funk, something blue

April 25, 2009

It’s time for another dose of Martini Music. This month an eclectic collection – what else would you expect from EM?

I bet you wouldn’t expect a CD of 80s Hollywood soundtracks, though Van Morrison you might and what about Billericay Dickie?.

When drinking martinis you need to have sophistication in your surroundings and sophisticated music. That is why Chez WhiteHirst is so special. Our Casa Refugio with its own rhythm and blues and occasional punk sensibility. In fact there’s an 80s symmetry to some of this play list.

Tonight I’m sitting in the dining room with a Perfect 10 and some Clevedon oysters, at the moment we’re about 8 tracks into this afternoon’s first CD,  Hollywood, Mon Amour, released in October 2008.

One of the stand-out tracks for me is Skye (ex Morcheeba) singing Blondie’s “Call Me” which was apparently used in American Gigolo.

You can download the track list from MySpace, keep an eye out for “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III by Katrine Ottosen and “This is not America” from The Falcon and the Snowman, sung here by Juliette Lewis.

The combinations on this CD should not work – crap 80s films, some classic tunes and some weird remix moves by  Nouvelle Vague – but it’s a great way to relax into a Saturday night.

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Sniffed me out like I was Tanqueray

April 25, 2009

10-ginOn a recent trip through DutyFreeland at Auckland airport I bought myself a long-promised litre bottle of Tanqueray 10 gin. Of course, it’s marketed as a premium gin and it’s not cheap, but I think it was worth it.

It’s a very herbaceous gin, with strong hints of citrus. The main botanicals are juniper, angelica and coriander. It’s a London gin, but made in Scotland. The Tanqueray family apparently took part in the crusades under Richard the Lion Heart. Oh well, not everyone’s perfect.

Mixed at 2-1 with Martini vermouth (a little sweeter than some) it made a very good Friday night domestic.

Some serious martini drinkers will probably think I’m a philistine for mixing at 2-1 and I don’t always, but this was my decision at the time.  I will try different versions now that I had the intitial “settler”.

The other question is whether Tanqueray 10 is better than Bombay Sapphire. After only one Tanqueray experience I probably should not rush to judgment, but on a first taste, the citrus hints of the 10 are hard to fault. At the same time the mystique of 10 is probably only marketing hype. The “secret” recipe known only to four people. Bullshit, let’s not forget that distilling gin – even “four times” as 10 claims – is still an industrial process.

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Martini music – hot, but not jazz this time

March 11, 2009

Wayne and I went to the spiegeltent at the Auckland Festival last night after work. There’s a really good 2-for-1 ticket deal at the box office for “happy hour” between 4 and 6 pm.

paprikabalkanicusThe act was Paprika Balkanicus, a five-piece playing Balkan music. Two accordions, a guitar, a violinist who looks like a short, stocky Trotsky and a beanpole bass player.

After a half of Domestic and a straightener it was great. There’s a great sense of humour in the band and some fine musicianship.

If they’re coming to a town near you, check them out. Paprika Balkanicus will be in Australia from mid-March to early April then they’re heading back to Europe.

They’re fast, lively and very danceable. The spiegeltent was a great place to see them too, a bit circusy.

You can see tour dates on the band’s MySpace page.

Martini Music – a party-time playlist

February 1, 2009
Amy Winehouse drug-free? Hollywood Gossip

A drug free Amy Winehouse - Hollywood Gossip

Update 23 October (over the dateline)

A drug-free Amy Winehouse? I’d love to see that.

But here in Aotearoa we have a saying that is captured on billboards advertising Tui beer:

A drug-free Amy Winehouse: “Yeah right!”

So it’s not surprising she went crazy at the Q Music awards yesterday. [26 Oct update]

Still, her dad Mitch says she hasn’t taken drugs for a year. Do you believe him?

Hollywood Gossip thinks otherwise, though it seems her boob job went well.

I”ve been meaning for sometime to write a note about Martini Music. In particular I wanted to mention Amy Winehouse.

Yes, I know she’s a walking disaster zone, but her musical talent is all too obvious. I really hope she doesn’t kill herself with whatever grizzly cocktail of drugs and fucked-upedness floats her boat. There’s a lot more Martini music here too, just skip the updates if you’re not an Amy fan.

Update 10 October 2009:

I have no idea if Amy’s had a boob-job and frankly I don’t care. I think it’s great that she turned up on Strictly Come Dancing to support her 13-year-old God-daughter. Maybe, just maybe, Amy’s making a recovery. She was reportedly straight back into rehab after the performance, but her 3rd album is due to drop sometime next year.

Personally I don’t think these recent photos show anything except that Amy’s looking better than she has in a long time, but then again, I’m not sure I’d know the difference between a 32B and a 32D anyway. If you look at earlier photos, she’s not that different.

Photo: Gossip Center

Photo: Gossip Center

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Oh alcohol, I sure drink to your health

June 18, 2008

I don’t mind a Martini now and again and occasionally I’ve even been known to drink more than’s actually good for me. But I don’t blame the booze, it’s usually a conscious decision, or in some cases, my judgement starts to lapse.

Lapses like the time I stole a bottle of vodka from a friend’s wedding party. I returned it once I’d come round and realised what a prick I’d been. Luckily my pals saw the funny side of the story and I’m not ashamed to re-tell it for a laugh now and again.

However, I am a bit upset about the political reactions to the death of Navtej Singh last weekend after a robbery-gone-horribly-wrong in his Manuwera liquor store.

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A poor excuse for drinking – better than none!

May 4, 2007

Campbell: ‘I’m allergic to alcohol’ – Digital Spy:

This must be a day for dumbduck celebrities to make amends – not quite apologies mind. Alan Jones claim to be ‘sincere’ [see below] and now a supermodel who’s renowned for her tantrums when imbibing too much of the happy juice (in liquid and powder form) says it’s her ‘allergies’.
Take a bow, Naomi Campbell.

“According to, Campbell has decided to give up drinking. She explained: ‘I choose not to drink today in my life because I find that I’m allergic to alcohol. I’m not someone that’s in denial of my problems and I’m not going to lie about my problems and I’m not hiding my problems.”

Denial? Naomi, you’re positively gushing! She hasn’t been in the news much since she finished her uber-fashionable gig as a cleaning lady – to atone for previous sins.

This is a blog about journalism and alcohol, but I’ve never stooped so low as to blame my love of martinis on a medical condition. Though I have been known to have one or two for purely ‘medicinal’ purposes.
In fact, I’m going to buy a bottle of reasonable gin and some olives on the way home. I’ve had a tough week here in the blogosphere, spent most of it at home in mi sick bed.
Now’s the time to live a little, before the allergies kick in.

Barenaked Ladies

April 27, 2007

Before we go on, I think it necessary to explain my reference to Barenaked Ladies in the previous post.
Here’s a clip that says it all really. [Rated G – for parents to enjoy with their children]

You can find out about this fine bunch of Canadians at the BnL Official website. Ahhh, this is pure Martini music. “chin chin”. I’m off for a medicinal, right now:

the “medicinal”

  • 3 parts gin (from the freezer)
  • 2 parts dry vermouth (from the fridge)

Pour liberally into an old wine glass, add three olives on a “twizzler”, stir with finger, enjoy with television after a hard day blogging.