MAGAZINE: June/July 2010 (Issue 335)
With a career spanning 30 odd years and countless albums and awards there’s little that Ozzy Osbourne hasn’t seen or heard. With a not-so private life due to his reality television show, Ozzy has become more than accessible than ever, and with a new album Scream ready to be unleashed that’s not about to change.
The personal assistant of ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne is on the phone. He enquires for the second time whether the interview is being recorded before handing me over to Mr Osbourne. At first, I consider he's asking for reasons of legality, before long however, it's clear he meant recorded as opposed to a live broadcast. The chances are good he was attempting to ascertain if he needed to have Osbourne censor himself- something that I discover quickly would be no mean feat.
"I met the President of America, I met the Queen of England [and] I met the Prime Minister of England," he tells me, recalling one of many impressive stories. "But you know, they're different fucking people. They're completely different people from the rest of us. They're like a fucking alien from outer space." It's no real surprise Osbourne feels this way. He's not one you'd be likely to confuse for a socialite type, spending his days gallivanting with the high brow of society. It's a good thing really.
2010 sees the Deceptikonz collective achieve an amazing milestone – 10 albums over nine years. From the Elimination debut in 2002, through to their newest opus, Evolution: Past, Present, Beyond - Mareko, Savage, Alphrisk and Devolo have released 10 solo and crew albums, a feat that’s unequalled in New Zealand hip hop circles.
Arriving at Savage’s south Auckland home, I find the foursome, along with friend Gunjack and fellow artist Monsta Ganja, playing PlayStation and table tennis in the basement. Like any group of lifelong friends, they talk, laugh, and play with that comfortable ease that comes with a crew’s intangible bond.
It’s a far cry from the rough group of rappers I met in 2000. Back then they were eager to play anywhere, anytime and battle anybody. The crew has come full circle in their journey through the trappings of the music industry. 2010 sees the group far more calculated and measured – but who wouldn’t be? Having survived the upheaval of the Dawn Raid bankruptcy, through to the incredible US success of Savage, they have put their solo careers on hold to put together their most polished piece of work yet – Evolution.
The track ‘Never Go Hungry’ from Nobody’s Daughter, the new album from Hole, speaks volumes about the place frontwoman Courtney Love is in right now. “It’s a long way back, from where I’ve fallen from / It’s a very hard fall, it’s a very cruel town” she laments, hinting at the journey she’s made to hell and back since the band last released an album, over 12 years ago.Now, after a few years spent derailing to the point where she was spending more time in rehab than in the studio, the brash blonde is back, and just as controversial as ever.
The one and only time I met Courtney Love, she slapped me across the face. It wasn’t in a journalistic capacity - my line of questioning wasn’t that shit - but strictly personal, and since then it seems more than a few people have incurred her famous wrath. After being informed by her record company that the subjects, ‘Kurt, Frances and money woes,’ were off limits, I waited for her call on several occasions, only to have ‘drugs’ and ‘getting arrested’ added to that list.
When it finally happened Love was, by her own admission, “grumpy as all hell,” but by then so was I, and we commiserated with each other about our woes. Hers involved, “too many nosey people in my room listening to what I say,” and a schedule that she described as Herculean. It soon became clear that my carefully prepared questions were going to get me nowhere, as you don’t so much interview Courtney Love, but instead just listen to her. And so the monologue begins..
There has never been a series as polarising as Outrageous Fortune. Like the compelling, record-breaking movie Boy, the television series contains a plethora of characters not unlike you, me, your mum, dad, auntie, uncle – or any member of our extended families.
It’s partly for that reason, and also some stellar acting, that with baited breath the nation anticipates the return, and possibly final series of Outrageous Fortune. Due to its massive success, and possibly the fact that it may be coming to an end - it’s never been more apparent how passionate New Zealanders feel about this show.
In an astonishing – but bound to be popular – move, Auckland Museum have announced an upcoming exhibition, Outrageous Fortune: Journey to the Wests, that will give visitors the chance to step into the West family’s living room, go behind the scenes, and get an intimate understanding of the incredible complexities that comprise New Zealand’s most successful television drama series. The exhibition, which will open in mid-December, will present a rather cerebral pop culture debate that encourages visitors to ask questions about how a ‘fantasy’ version of Auckland’s identity can influence and contribute to our understanding of the wider New Zealand culture and ourselves.
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