What do garage bands and tech startups have in common?

Russell Brown’s Public Address article on the impending closure and redevelopment of the King’s Arms music venue got me thinking. Russell highlighted the importance of certain types of physical spaces for a music scene’s ongoing vitality: What the King’s Arms and the Powerstation have in common is that they are reasonably large rectangular boxes, which makes them ideal rock ‘n’ roll venues. That’s a hard kind of building to find – and an even harder one to build – in the current environment. While the Wine Cellar and Whammy have done a good job of making the most of their space and Galatos seems to work well, the only real …
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Midweek reading: Christchurch, record shops, and decaying infrastructure

I’m doing a smaller roundup of articles midweek due to a lack of time to write proper blog posts. Regular service will – hopefully – resume before much longer. Let’s start with Christchurch. Rebecca Macfie writes (in the Listener) about what has been learnt in the five years since the Canterbury earthquakes. She highlights some lowlights: Beyond that lie two large empty blocks that have been bought and cleared by Cera for a massive convention centre. The proposed complex was tagged by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee as one of the priority projects in the Crown’s 2012 masterplan for the rebuilt CBD. Like an economic defibrillator, it was to kickstart …
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Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities

A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense: The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the time – like many other large American cities, it was struggling with deindustrialisation, white flight, and a crime wave. But it was a fantastic time and place to make music. Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa were originating hip-hop; Television, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and the Ramones were putting together punk rock. People were swapping ideas and innovating. Things were happening. That’s what happens in cities. Talking Heads frontman …
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