Pride and prejudice

I’m not sure what to say about this rather unpleas­ant lit­tle sto­ry in the once mighty but now, only-just-crawl­ing-above-tabloid-lev­el NZ Her­ald. As one who is privy to large parts of this sto­ry, and, indeed is, with­out per­mis­sion, quot­ed from my web­site (although to be fair, I do give a per­mis­sion of sort in the copy­right note for quo­ta­tion with cred­it although I didn’t imag­ine it would be used for some­thing like this) in rela­tion to the mat­ter, I could write screeds about it and fill this page with all sorts of things. But I’m not going to for obvi­ous rea­sons, and I think it’s unfor­tu­nate that oth­ers, espe­cial­ly those who place them­selves in a posi­tion of moral author­i­ty as the self-right­eous Her­ald has in past years, see fit to.

I should also clar­i­fy that the com­ments quot­ed on my site do not apply to the cur­rent man­age­ment at Uni­ver­sal NZ, a cou­ple of which worked long and hard on the OMC project, and one, in par­tic­u­lar, played a big part in its suc­cess.

But what sad­dens me is the way New Zealand so hap­pi­ly cru­ci­fies those who it pre­vi­ous­ly cel­e­brat­ed. He has made some finan­cial mis­takes, main­ly through inex­pe­ri­ence, bad advice (and I note that some of those to whom he owed large sums were those to whom entrust­ed him­self for advice, and oth­ers who rushed at him as a way to make a quick buck but turned) Pauly has done lit­tle wrong beyond naivety. In fact, he has done a lot right. He waved the flag for his nation all over the world. He was a proud ambas­sador of his nation and his peo­ple. I sat with him in radio sta­tions on the oth­er side of the world when he extolled the virtues of New Zealand as a place to live to mil­lions, and, with immense pride explained to news­pa­per reporters, smit­ten by his hand­some charm, as to the sig­nif­i­cance of the tat­toos on his arms. Indeed, when How Bizarre took off there was mas­sive pres­sure to re-locate to the UK, and I put it to Pauly but he told me he want­ed to raise his fam­i­ly in New Zealand, he loved it and it was home. I under­stood.

New Zealand also took pride in him. He has been quot­ed sev­er­al times by the Prime Min­is­ter, was on the cov­er of count­less NZ on Air pub­li­ca­tions and col­lec­tions, and New Zealan­ders the world over still claim to feel a buzz when they hear the song on a radio sta­tion in Can­cun or Prague, as you are just as like­ly to (actu­al­ly more so) as in Auck­land.

Pauly’s first record­ings are on the Proud col­lec­tion, and it makes per­fect sense. He taught me more about nation­al pride than years stand­ing in class­rooms singing the nation­al anthem or watch­ing sheep wave red socks did…

He also made New Zealand an awful­ly large amount of mon­ey (the Her­ald sto­ry was a mile off in this) and my belief is (and once again, I’m not privy to the details, I haven’t spo­ken to Paul this year but based on com­ments he was mak­ing) that the IRD may have played a large part in the deci­sion last week. If so, I’m rather ashamed to be a New Zealan­der as his income stream was still strong enough to make a hole in most debt and it was cru­el­ly unnec­es­sary. He had also giv­en to the nation in so many oth­er innu­mer­able ways. Maybe I’m jump­ing the gun here a lit­tle … I cer­tain­ly hope so.

Fac­tu­al­ly the Her­ald sto­ry, which has an almost gloat­ing feel to it, had more than a few holes, but I guess that’s because most of us wouldn’t speak to them…I declined, although I regret I wasn’t firm enough about my rea­sons for it.

And as a per­son, Pauly has, as many artists do, a fragili­ty that this sto­ry won’t help at all.

But I guess in the dri­ve to sell news­pa­pers and adver­tis­ing that doesn’t mat­ter.

There is an irony in all this: The Her­ald was instru­men­tal in Pauly’s rise via a sto­ry from one of it’s finest writ­ers, Gra­ham Reid. How­ev­er, when Pauly hit the top of the US charts an approach by myself for a piece was declined by the Chief Reporter with a response of “we’ve already cov­ered him”. I guess they found anoth­er rea­son…

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