Neil’s Service

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Neil Stewart Slideshow

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Neil’s Slideshow¬†(200 megabytes)

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Vale Lou Reed

When I was 15 I used to work in the weekends picking tomatoes to earn pocket money. A day in the hothouses earned me $5 so every two weeks I could get on a bus and travel from suburban Mangere into Auckland City and buy a new record.

I was just getting into buying records then. One of the first records I bought was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album.

Fuck.

Everything changed.

I went backwards through Bowie catalog to Hunky Dory and The Man Who Sold The World. Then I heard he produced an album by Mott The Hoople. I bought it.

Then he produced Transformer and I was introduced to Lou Reed.

I went back through Lou Reed’s catalog and discovered The Velvet Underground.

I bought a drum kit and formed a band.

Right from the start we did Lou Reed covers. I still do Lou Reed covers.

I have a concert at my farm every February. In 2011 my band was called Deja VU and Nico and we did only Lou Reed covers.

I think I have everything the he released, including the crap. That’s what you do when you are a fan. You even buy the crap.

I saw Lou Reed live in concert twice, in 1975 and in 1978. I took a cassette deck in to the ’75 show and still have the tape. I listened to it again yesterday.

This year’s father’s day I wrote a tribute to Lou Reed. He is the father of most of the songs I ever wrote. He was the one who gave me a voice and walked me through every step of the way. It’s simple. You play a chord, you say the line, you move down the page and you tell the story.

I knew he was sick, but I started to think he was never going to die.

But he died.

Age 71.

He leaves behind a body of work that is stunning in it’s depth and width.

I don’t have a favorite song or album or era. I just have a favorite artist.

Still.

Vale Lou Reed.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed

A Good Heart

Feargal Sharkey sang it

Songwriter: MARIA LOUISA MCKEE

I hear a lot of stories
I suppose they could be true
All about love
And what it can do to you

Highest risk of striking out
The risk of getting hurt
And still
I have so much to learn

I know, ’cause I think about it all the time
I know, that real love has quite a price

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

My expectations may be high
I blame that on my youth
Soon enough, I’ll learned
The painful truth

I’ll face it like a fighter
Then boast of how I’ve grown
Anything is better
Than being alone

I know, ’cause I learn a little every day
I know, ’cause I listen when the experts say

That a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

As I look back
On all my childhood dreams
My ideas of love
Weren’t as foolish as they seemed

If I don’t start looking now
I’ll be left behind
And a good heart these days
It’s hard to find

I know, it’s a dream I’m willing to defend
I know, it will all be worth it in the end

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this, with this heart (with this heart) of mine

A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart

Featherston Street Demos

Featherston street 500x70

An new album is on the way. Here are the studio demos.

Some people have had issues accessing these songs on Soundcloud so I have uploaded them to my blog. Right click the hyperlinks to download any mp3’s you want to keep on your local PC

Enjoy!

Gone Too Long (HIS)

Gone too long, a song of loss.

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Moon Cam

Moon Cam is about two lovers separated by distance and connected via the moon.

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Siren Song

Siren Song is about getting hooked.

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Still Dreaming

What happens when two people are in the same dreams?

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Not Another Fukcing Love Song

When the guys at work tell you that enough is enough.

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Words Left Hanging

Sometimes you just have to be vague.

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Risk It All

Are you prepared to risk being completely happy?

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Man Alone

A chapter is completed, where to next?

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Featherston Street

She was walking down the street, talking to me real sweet…

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Proud To Be A New Zealander?

Hang Ups

Hang Ups

Yesterday, as our parliament of ‘honorable’ representatives passed into law under urgency a bill which even conservative polls showed that over three quarters of the population had strong opposition to a colleague told me he was ‘ashamed to be a New Zealander today’.

I was pretty taken back by that remark.

This is the country that led the world in equal suffrage, and stood up to the might of the United States to make a principled stand on nuclear armed warships entering our ports.

When the French government were conducting atmospheric tests in the Pacific Islands and used their military to engage in acts of violence against New Zealanders with the courage to protest our government sent a naval frigate with a cabinet minister on board to protect our countrymen.

This is the country where a Labour government denied visas to a rugby team to play apartheid sport and when a National Government supported apartheid sport this is the country where over a million people stood up to be counted.

In fact on every important issue of principle over several generations New Zealanders have stood up and taken a decent stand and have demonstrated to the world that we are capable of thinking for ourselves and expressing our own point of view, even if it is at odds with others.

Sadly we have an administration that is not working in the interests of New Zealand but instead seems to be more loyal to the wishes of foreign governments and corporations.

The interests of the country and it’s citizens are ignored and the government regime acts as a lapdog for their overseas masters.

We have seen a lot of this around the world recently. You only have to turn on the news and see that the world is rebelling against despots and traitors in a way that must scare the pants off the rich and powerful.

The only thing that is bigger than their hatred of ordinary people is their fear of them. And for good reason.

So I’m not ashamed to be a New Zealander because we have a government that works against us and sells us out to some foreign power.

I’m just looking forward to the day when they get what’s coming to them for their treason.

There is one thing you can never do and this is to give up on the people, especially the New Zealand people.

We have too proud a history of doing the right thing to let these scumbags get away with what they are doing to this great  country.

John Key might think that we are the kind of people that would ‘run for the hills’ when attacked, but you’d have to ignore history to believe it.

Speaking of running for the hills when attacked…

“Not Another Love Song”

I work at racetracks, up on the roof with the TV camera guys. Between races we talk a bit.

Down in the Waikato B.O.P region a few of the team are pretty musical and a couple the crew play in bands. John Strange is one such camera operator and he’s a bit of a heavy metal legend in fact.

The other day, after the last race at Te Rapa, at 5.22 to be exact, John, James and I had a bit of a conversation about how we were going to spend a Saturday evening.

I said I would probably go home and write another song for my next album (tentatively titled Featherston Street).

John looked at me in that heavy metal look and said ‘not another a love song?’

I said it might be.

“The last thing this world needs is another fu$#ing love song’ he said.

My initial reply was “That’s going to be the title”

Here is my full reply…

The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

Remember public service restructuring?

We needed it because the public sector was inefficient and the private sector was super efficient. It was the mantra of the 80’s

Public enterprise = bad – private enterprise = good

The facts, as usual, were different. Some private enterprise whizz kids turned out to be criminals and went to jail in the 80’s. Dodgy investments and lost savings.

I worked for the Railways in the 80’s when the public owned it. The public actually built up the railways system and used it as a tool of national development for a few generations. But something went wrong in our thinking. Apparently we Railwaymen and women were in fact useless and all needed to be sacked. But we still needed a railways, so private enterprise bought it. They completely stuffed it up in about 5 years and the taxpayer bailed them out. A couple of times.

We knew this would happen. We even warned people of it. But the public had bought into the myth of the lazy good for nothing railway bludger. And the public got well and truly shafted.

It wasn’t just the railways that got wrecked by this kind if thinking… every public service that could be opened up to private enterprise had the vultures come in for a feed.

The slogan was always “efficiency”.

“It’s more efficient if it’s run as a private enterprise”

Except it wasn’t true. It was a lie. It was a lie told by people who wanted to make a profit providing those services.

With regard to the railways the multinational corporations wanted to scrap the freight limit so that instead of carrying goods by rail they could be carried by 18 wheelers. We had to rebuild our roading network to accommodate this demand. People are still paying for that at the pump.

Sadly when it comes to transporting heavy goods road is the most inefficient method of doing it, but that efficiency argument lost it’s favor when there were profits to be made by private enterprise. Apparently using the taxpayer to subsidize a rail system was bad, but subsidizing road transport was good.

This has been duplicated everywhere there is a dollar to be made. Vultures have moved in to every aspect of the infrastructure of our economy and are milking billions of dollars that used to be spent on services and are now being spent on huge corporate salaries and bonuses.

Take a look at something as essential as mental health. Big corporations are now providing care services for people in need. The big institutions are gone and community care is practiced. The administration takes a huge amount of the money and the staff are left with the crumbs. Somewhere in between that is the patient. While the top heavy administration finds ways to make bigger profits the staff are left to deal with the problems of underfunded caregiving.

It’s not that there isn’t enough money.

We get told all the time that ‘the country can’t afford’ this or that. But the country can afford hundreds of corporate executives in the infrastructure earning a million dollars plus a year before bonuses.

Pennies for the troubled minds of people who find the craziness of this modern world a little too much to take in and make sense of, but millions for a bloke in a suit getting blood from a spreadsheet.

Back in the olden days people had to work really hard to make a million dollars a year. Have you got any idea how many banks you would have to rob to steal that much money?

Thankfully nowadays there is a restrustured infrastructure, less regulation and bank robbery is left to petty crooks.

The gravy train departs from Platform 1 in 10 minutes. Tickets by invite only.

 

 

Poorer Benefits For All

I see Paula Benefit is in the news again today. Sadly she has chosen to ignore the word of the people who met her in Waiuku on May 29th.

I’ll repost what I published on my Facebook page from her little meeting there…

Paula and I discussing the Key Regime's War on the Poor

Paula and I discussing the Key Regime’s War on the Poor

Date: May 29;

So anyway I went and had a chat with Paula Bennett and about 50 of my fellow Nats in Waiuku this morning.

Paula was fizzing about her new welfare reforms. Contraception, drug testing, making lampshades from tattooed skin etc.

She did her best to assure us this was in the best interests of those involved and would save us lots of money if Treasuries predictions turned out correct.

There’s a first time for everything you know.

Well I had to tell her that as a member if the generation of hard working Kiwi Mums and Dads that were happy to help her when she needed it we wanted her to know what an absolute pleasure it was to be able to answer her call for help.

I also needed to tell her that a lot of us Nats were nervous that our party seemed to be run by people with ‘evil in their hearts’ when it came to our most vulnerable fellow citizens and how warming it was to hear her distance herself at last from this group.

I asked that she remember that Kiwis like to help the unfortunate, the unlucky and even the reckless rather than see them suffer in this land of plenty.

Throughout my little chat my fellow Nats murmured ‘yes’ and ‘that’s right’ and nodded in general agreement.

‘Please go back to your office from this meeting knowing that many of your supporters are growing increasingly uncomfortable at watching welfare for the needy being cut back to give welfare to landlords and corporations who are not paying tax and being bludgers Paula’.

When we spoke privately later it was clear Paula had got the message.