Meet the new year – same as the old year?
...And here we are on the other side. Welcome to 2022: brace yourself...
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the past couple of years it is that things move at their own pace. It may be only January, but already the year feels a little limbo-like.
Things are happening, sort of like normal, but many things aren’t, so not really normal at all.
I know people who aren’t going out much except to small regular groups. Concerts and festivals are still biting the dust with depressing regularity and Omicron is lurking round the corner, with waves of potential pandemic pandemonium. Year three and counting.
I’m not sure what the current ‘Pandemic Pandemonium Prediction’ date actually is. It may have changed between me writing and you reading. Last time I chatted to a doctor he said: “February 14.” That’s when the Omicron surge we’re all expecting was likely to peak.
But what to expect? Who knows? In times like this I look to movies to offer wisdom. The practice has almost destroyed my life but I’m hooked. Fortunately, the visionary makers of science fiction films have many helpful warnings for 2022...
The big one is Soylent Green, a 1973 film so pervasive it has been quoted everywhere from The Simpsons to The X-Files. It stars the most extravagantly clenched clench-jawed hero in film history, Charlton Heston.
It is set in 2022. Society is divided into rich and poor. There is overpopulation and pollution, hunger and poverty. There is climate change and euthanasia. Obviously nothing like today. And people eat the titular meat substitute.
I think some 50 years on it is okay to reveal that the film’s comforting Euthanasia Centres hide a darker secret. And that the ‘meatless meat’ isn’t as meatless as initially advertised. The film closes with Chuck’s anguished cry: “Soylent Green is people!”
Nobody mentioned that during the euthanasia law debate.
Amongst other warnings from re-watching sci-fi is that 2022 might bring a Geostorm. That’s what happened earlier this week on TVNZ to Gerard Butler. Except it didn’t.
First rule of disaster movies: if you call one ‘Geostorm’ then there better be a damn geostorm at some point. It was the worst case of misleading advertising since people watched There Will Be Blood expecting, err, blood.
Meanwhile, if The Tomorrow War is to be believed, emissaries from 2050 will appear this year and suggest one of the stupidest ideas to ever power a movie plot. So don’t pay any attention to them.
In summary: Ignore time travellers, don't worry about potential storms, and for god’s sake don’t eat meatless meat. You’re now ready for 2022.
Before we move on I thought it might be good to doff the cap to some of the fine Tauranga bands that called it a day for various reasons in 2021.
In July Simon Elton, New Zealand music industry veteran and singer, songwriter and guitarist with B-Side Band, died. The group, together for nearly two decades, have since changed the name of their Facebook page to B-Side Band and Beyond and have posted a series of retrospective videos and photo albums.
Remaining members Paul Parkhurst (vocals, harp) and Josh Durning (guitar) have been occasionally playing as Play Misty, the same name as the duo Paul and Simon once had.
Only a couple of months later Tauranga lost Mike Everard, a stalwart on the blues and cover scene and most recently guitarist with Hybrid Blues, who produced a most excellent blues album in 2020. In recognition of his passing the band have called it a day.
Singer and band leader Roy Hudson has since been seen playing at the BOP Blues Club in Rotorua with a new band provisionally called Rehab, along with Michael “Mutt” Furness, previously guitarist for Electric Universe.
Mutt has departed that band along with drummer Matt Baxter; it seems unlikely EU will continue.
And the irrepressible Brownie of Brown Dog and The Muttleys Band and duo has moved to Christchurch, putting both outfits into indefinite retirement.
All of those bands brought great pleasure to many of us – thank you for the music!