Nostalgia acts are all the rage right now. The Golriz Ghahraman story gives us a chance to revisit the good old pre-2014 days of Dirty Politics.
Last week Stevie Nicks and Chrissy Hynde tore up stages around New Zealand, the latest in a stream of aging rock acts to pack out local stadiums. On a smaller scale, seemingly every album released by a '90s band warrants a tour to remember it by. Who at the time knew that So Much For The Afterglow represented a cultural milestone we'd need to be revisiting 20 years later?
The point of these events is pretty obvious. They allow musicians to claw some more value from their back catalogue in an era when no-one pays for recorded music anymore. For the audience, they are a chance to step back in time to when skin was firmer, knees were less sore and life held promise - or else go and see what the hell it is Mum and Dad keep on rabbiting on about when they keep telling you "this is what real music sounds like".
In that spirit, this weeks' "Get Golriz!" pile-on in has given the good old Dirty Politics lads a chance to stage their own little band reformation, albeit without giving us that warm feeling of "remember the good old days?" The chance to link a high profile Green Party MP (with added bonus points of being a young woman bearing a "foreign" name) with genocidal criminals was simply too juicy for them to pass up. How did their reunion show go?
Kicking off proceedings was David Farrar, whose upset at hearing the news that Golriz had worked for defence teams at international criminal tribunals probably was driven by the fact he hadn't sniffed this out before the election when it could have done the most harm. After virtue signalling his good intentions to us - "some of my best friends are defence lawyers, don't you know!" - he jumped straight into his greatest hits "It's Not The Work, It's The Lying I Hate", segued into "Do We Even Know Where She's From?", before finishing with the inevitable "Actually, It Is The Work I Hate - Look At This Photo!". Because everyone knows that while you can defend people accused of things, you're not allowed to relate to them as real people. I'm sure his good friend the defence lawyer told him that.
Joining Farrar on this nostalgia kick was everyone's less favoured songwriter, Cameron Slater. He did some numbers, too, but as everyone took the chance to go to the bar and get a drink, no-one can tell you what they were.
And brought back on stage for a special guest appearance was the group's cheeky little hype-man and roadie, Jordan Williams. Introduced as "a former Green Party member" (seriously, NZ Herald - you don't bother checking this shit?) rather than "front puppet for a group ideologically committed to the opposite of everything the Green Party stands for", Williams regaled the crowd with his tale of adolescent fantasy and wish fulfilment, "The Green Party Is Going To Die".
Ah, good times. Back into the groove, rocking like it was 2012, putting the ugly circumstances of their 2014 split behind them.
Of course, no review would be complete without mentioning the antiquitarian support act, Soper & Hosking. Undeterred by the fact a journalist at their very own newspaper publicly said Golriz had openly discussed her work on tribunal defence teams in an interview prior to the election, information which their own editors had decided simply wasn't worth printing, they nevertheless enjoyed a fine duet of "Why Won't You Be More Open, Golriz?"
A special closing word about the man who really enabled this reunion to take place, Phil Quin. Without his "I've Been To Rwanda, Inc" promotional company, none of this could have taken place. Quin may have neglected to mention in his frequent public appearances spruiking the "Get Golriz" shows that his time in that country involved providing PR for the Government of a guy who has been warned he may face war crimes charges of his own, and who has openly admitted murdering his domestic opponents, but a good promoter doesn't let his own personal failings get in the way of the show.
Let's take a moment to admire Quin's success in putting on the event, even in the face of repeated messages from expert commentators in New Zealand and overseas that he's plain wrong in most everything he says. It takes a special kind of showman to impose his view of the world on an unwilling reality. Just ask Donald Trump.
And then let's look upon this spectacle of a bunch of white guys jumping on a young woman of colour for daring to want to go on the world stage and play a part in the process of trying to establish a system of international justice. A system that our representative at the UN said this about in 2015:
In 1994, New Zealand played a leading role in pushing the Council to respond to the unfolding genocide in Rwanda. Later that year we took the initiative in the Council to prepare the draft Statute and lead the negotiations on the text.
When we look back at what those Tribunals have achieved, we are all the more convinced that the Council made the right decision in establishing these bodies.
We should be proud of what was created.
We should warmly thank the Judges, Tribunal staff and UN personnel who have worked tirelessly to deliver justice and provide some measure of closure to victims, and above all to send a clear message that there can be no impunity for perpetrators of atrocities, even at the highest levels.
And then let's get retro, pull out our cigarette lighters but instead of waving them in the air, use them to burn the motherfuckers to the ground.