The other night I was watching TV and flicked over to C4 at 8.30pm ‘cos I remembered there was something I’d wanted to see. I’m so glad that I did! Turns out that 8.30pm on Wednesdays on C4 is when Nick Dwyer’s show Making Tracks is on (Making Tracks, geddit?). Each week Nick travels to a different country around the world and checks out the local music scene, shares some kiwi tunes with the local people, and then hands over a couple of New Zealand songs to get the local treatment. I’ve always loved Nick’s shows, the other awesome one that I saw was him in Japan, and I really enjoyed watching a NZ journalist/presenter getting into the local culture instead of just pissing around (Matthew and Mark’s Rocky Road, anyone?). Also a lot of shows don’t seem to be interested in Asian countries, but Nick seems to really know his stuff.
At the start of the show he gives us some history of the music scene in China, the vibrancy of the pre-Cultural Revolution music culture in China and the opression and control of art under Mao after 1949. Since the 80s, however, China has had an increasingly varied and exciting music scene with is growing stronger and stronger in many different genres. It was hilarious at the beginning when Nick arrived in Shanghai and was swept up in the huge crowd of fans at the airport waiting for pop superstar “Alan” (possibly Alan Luo?). Nick comes over all fangirl and shoves his way through the crowd yelling “New Zealand loves you!” and gets a handshake from Alan himself
And I didn’t wash that hand for three whole days
Other highlights included Nick on the waterfront in Shanghai with a boombox round his neck, rapping along to Scribe’s Swing while the locals looked on. He also got to set up a stall at a Beijing music festival giving away free CDs of kiwi music, and free t-shirts of kiwi bands, proving once and for all that he has the best job in the world (as if this was in doubt after he got to spend an entire day with Nirace, surely every boy’s fantasy).
When Nick talks about local music tastes and trends he really seems to know what he’s talking about, it’s as if he’s in the know and is explaining it to us visitors. It’s great the way he can appreciate the local music but also see it from a kiwi’s perspective. Watching him explain the C-Pop genre was really amusing
Imagine the sickliest, sweetest form of Western pop, add a dozen kittens, and you’re halfway there to getting an idea how hyper-cute this industry’s marketed to the youth of China.
–Funny because it’s true!
You can head over to the C4 website and read more about the Making Tracks series, or even watch this episode (Making Tracks ep.4: China). It’s pretty high quality and didn’t take very long to load either!