Happy Birthday

My beautiful, eldest daughter turns fifteen today and once again I will not be able to wish her a happy birthday, give her presents and a cuddle and share in her day of celebration and neither will her step-mother, sister and grandparents. This will be yet again another year where I will be forced to just wonder about her, rather than be in wonder of her. I will wonder how she is celebrating it and where and with whom. Whether she is thinking of me and the rest of her family and if she does, are they good thoughts? Whether she knows we are all thinking of her and wishing her a very happy birthday? What presents she has been given and were they what she wanted?

This is the fourteenth time this has happened and each time is just as difficult as the rest. I hope that it is easier for her as she deserves to have a happy birthday.

It is certainly not through lack of trying to see her either. The problem is that I am not a custodial parent, only a guardian, which means no-one (including CYFS, the Family Court, the police, lawyers etc) can or will help my daughter and I. In written law they can but in reality none of them will. I don’t even know where she is living, what her phone number is or if she is even safe, which of course is against the law but that doesn’t seem to matter to the authorities. The only thing the authorities care about is if I am paying my child support. They will hound anyone who fails to pay money but as for the child actually getting to see their parents and families, they couldn’t care less. Yet supposedly the court always acts in the “best interests of the child”.

You can’t withhold child support if you aren’t seeing the child, as the IRD says access has nothing to do with child support. However one of the ways in which they calculate child support is by seeing how often you see your child. So which way is it IRD? Does access have something to do with child support or doesn’t it? I am not sure how the IRD and the government cannot see that by charging parents more child support the less they see their children, has added to the already huge problem of parental alienation? Then again, perhaps they can? They have given unethical and uncaring parents a financial incentive and reward for abusing their child.

The media aren’t allowed to comment either so every other child, parent and family in our situation cannot get our story out, therefore the general public remain ignorant to our plight. Which means when people read blogs like this, they won’t believe it or they will think that I or someone like me have done something to cause it. It is awful to be in this situation and see the media covering non-stories like a child being upset with their school uniform or the latest celebrity break up, whilst we are here dealing with the trauma of not seeing our family, being alienated from them and not being able to do anything about it.

Wherever you are Olivia, I hope you are having a great birthday. Happy birthday from Dad, Genna, Elektra, Granny and Pop. We look forward to one day when we can celebrate your birthday with you. We love you and always will.

Posted in News | Tagged ,

A Second Class Citizen

As the father of a child that I am denied access to by the mother, there should be something I can do for my child. The reality is that when I do try and do anything I am treated as a second class citizen here in New Zealand. There are quite a few ways in which I am treated as such. I point them all out below.

When a woman is pregnant a man has no rights at all. Yes, you read that correctly! A man has no rights. This means that if I get a woman pregnant and she leaves town or even the country, she can and there isn’t anything I can do about it. If she leaves (or tries to) after the baby is born, then I could try to get an injunction to stop her from leaving, but I may not be granted one.

I always thought taking children away from their parents or families was kidnapping! Apparently though, New Zealand allows it.

Children are taken and kept away from their parents every day in this country and usually by one of the child’s parents. Some people come home to find their family has vanished because one of the parents has decided to raise them alone. They then keep them away from the other parent forever or blackmail the other parent before allowing the parent to see them again. Taking children away from their parent/family and then not telling them where they are and blackmailing them for money certainly sounds like kidnapping to me. What else could it be?

If someone does this and is a custodial parent and the other just a guardian then that is somehow seen as different. If a guardian took the child then they would be arrested, but if a custodial parent took the child, that seems to be fine. If both parents are biological, then why should a title matter? Surely kidnapping, is kidnapping?

I am my child’s legal guardian. The NZ Justice website has this to say about guardianship…

“A legal guardian is an adult who is responsible for looking after a child. This covers the child’s care and upbringing.”

As a legal guardian I was told that I would have a say in my child’s upbringing but I am denied having a say in any aspect of my child’s life. No-one in a position of power will enforce it. It is left to the custodial parent to decide whether to allow me to or not. In other words, guardianship works on the honour system and the honour system is open to abuse.

The NZ Justice website also has this to say about guardianship…

“All mothers and most fathers are automatically guardians of their child at birth. If a couple splits up, they stay guardians of their children and should make guardianship decisions together if possible to guide their child’s upbringing and development.”

So there you have it, undeniable bias based purely on gender. Why should mothers get automatic guardianship but not all men? I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who were granted automatic guardianship, I had to fight and beg for it. Why?

They “should” make decisions together? Why does this not say they “must” make decisions together?

But hold on… isn’t there a Family Court I can go to and sort this out?

Why yes there is.

The first step is to get a lawyer, which of course costs a lot of money. If I cannot afford a lawyer I can get legal aid, but not if I earn over a certain amount or if my partner does. If that is the case then there is nothing I can do.

In New Zealand justice is not for all. To have access to justice you have to be either very rich or be dirt poor. Shouldn’t justice be for everyone?

Let’s for arguments sake say I can afford a lawyer, well that doesn’t help me much anyway.

I can go to mediation, where again the honour system comes into play. The mediator or judge who runs the mediation has no power to make any decisions. How is that supposed to help?

When that doesn’t work, I can go to court. Again, only if I have the money to do so and if I don’t, I get stuck in a loop of endless and meaningless mediations. Especially if the custodial parent has legal aid, they can play the game for as long as they like as it doesn’t cost them anything but a small piece of their time.

If I am falsely accused of something and it is proved that I am innocent, that person will have no repercussions of making this false allegation. Why? How can someone get away with this? It seems to me that the person making the false allegation is protected and the real victim, the one who was found innocent, is punished. They are punished by having the stress of being falsely accused and more than likely having to pay to prove their innocence, while the accuser gets off scot free and can do it again if they like! Also nothing said in mediation is allowed to be used in court. I have never understood that.

Again for arguments sake, let’s say I am graciously “allowed” to see my child… on paper that is, in the form of a Parenting Order. Great! I then go to see my child at the agreed time and place, yet the custodial parent isn’t there. So what can I do now?

I can go to the Family Court and ask for an injunction, except I have to pay thousands of dollars to do so, not including lawyers’ fees. The court may or may not do anything about it. That’s right, the judge may decide that it doesn’t matter that the child is being alienated from their parent/family!

If the court does decide to do something about it, one of the things they can do is fine the custodial parent. Which is great you say? Well yes… except for the fact that the maximum fine is half of what it costs to get an injunction in the first place. Less than half if you include lawyer’s fees.

Why should I be forced to pay more than the person who has broken the law/not upheld the parenting order? Why am I the one getting fined and treated like the criminal? Where is the justice?

The courts can also hold mediations without me, the non-custodial parent, and allow the custodial parent to make decisions about my life and my child’s life for me. How can this happen if I am not seen as a second class citizen?

So the custodial parent hasn’t shown up with my child and I can’t afford a lawyer or to go to the courts, what can I do next? I know, I will call the police, they will help me right? I mean it says so on my parenting order etc. so I will do that. Except when I do call them I am told they cannot do anything because it is a civil matter and they are not allowed to get involved in civil matters.

Well that’s easy then I will just turn up at the custodial parent’s house and get my child myself. No, I can’t do that or I will be arrested by the very police who said they can’t get involved. I will most likely be charged with attempted kidnapping or be trespassed off the property. Then the custodial parent will probably get a protection order against me. Remember, I have a parenting order made by the Family Court that says I am allowed access. Seems a bit of a worthless piece of paper doesn’t it?

Well I’ll go and see Child, Youth and Family then! Good idea right? Wrong. They won’t do anything either because they say that it seems like a family issue and not a child safety issue. Aren’t the words child, youth and family in the name of the organisation? Isn’t that THE name? Nope, doesn’t matter, they won’t help.

Seeing as I have concerns about my child’s safety and well-being I should call my child’s doctor and ask to see the medical records. Under New Zealand law the fact that I am a guardian means I am entitled to see them. When the doctor refuses to allow me to see them I am confused. They cite the privacy act and tell me that this over-rides my guardianship. How can this be? This doesn’t seem right. So I call the Privacy Commission who tell me that the relationship between the child and their doctor must be upheld and protected. They seem to have no concerns about protecting the relationship between a child and their parent! I am sure they must know best and don’t have their wires or morals crossed… how could they right?

Well then I guess I had better go to the Human Rights Commission then because I am a human and my rights are being denied. Except when I get there I am told that they will not do anything to do with the Family Court and therefore will not help me. That’s right the organisation that is set up to look after human rights is saying they can’t and won’t help me. On their website it reads…

“Our purpose is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Why am I not one of the people whose human rights should be protected and promoted? I am a New Zealand citizen, I was born here and I live here. I am pretty sure I am human too. They obviously don’t believe I am a human or at least one whose rights deserve to be protected.

Ok so what next? What is left for me to do? I know, I will contact the media. This is surely newsworthy right? Well it might be but the media won’t touch it. They have been told and it is the law that they cannot report on the family court. So I have no way of getting my story out.

So I guess all that is left for me to do is contact politicians. But they are disinterested in what I have to say or feign interest and fob me off to other politicians who do the same thing until I tire of being bumped from one politician to the next.

With nothing left to do I can go and see the Citizens Advice Bureau. Their only advice is to get a lawyer and go through the Family Court, which as you remember is where I started!  In fact everyone I have spoken to has told me to get a lawyer or to just give up!

Well hold on though… there is a silver lining in the lawyer thing (sarcasm)! I can appoint a Lawyer for Child who can act on my child’s behalf. This is great except for the fact that the Lawyer for Child can legally only speak to one of the parents and make their mind up based on that parents stories with no evidence. Yup, you guessed it.. The lawyer has decided to only listen to the custodial parent. Despite the fact that it was me that appointed him/her! Of course appointing a Lawyer for Child is redundant anyway as the courts are a farce.

Lawyers of course are happy to take my money and tell me that they can help, but seeing as there is no-one who will enforce any decisions made in court or mediation, they seem rather disingenuous.

So that is it, there is nothing that a second class citizen like myself can do. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Oh no! We still have some way to go!

I can, however, at least get some co-operation from my child’s school can’t I? Nope. They can deny me parent-teacher interviews and access to reports and my child’s school file. All of course which is based on the custodial parents lies. No proof necessary.

I can write to the Board of Trustees but they just back the schools decision, even though they can see the school is clearly in the wrong.

So I contact the Ministry of Education to complain but they just ignore me, which of course validates the schools treatment of me. Even if the Ministry does do something, it seems as though there are no repercussions for the school or people involved and they are free to continue doing what they’re doing.

As a non-custodial parent I am forced to pay child support. The amount I have to pay is based on an estimate (not the actual amount) of my potential earnings from the previous year. So it isn’t based on what I am currently earning, which could be zero, but on the previous year which could have been over a million dollars. If I do not pay or cannot pay the full amount I am charged penalty fees. These keep adding up the more I don’t pay. The IRD can also take my child support straight from my account if they wish, whether I want them to or not.

Usually the amount is more than what it actually costs to look after a child or more than another child I have in my care.

If I disagree with the amount then I can have it reviewed and at that review they may decide to increase the amount I have to pay and I am not allowed to have another review until the next financial year. This would be like working on minimum wage but paying tax in the highest tax bracket and not being allowed to do anything about it! It makes no sense.

Also the custodial parent is under no obligation (other than moral) to actually spend a cent of it on the child. They do not have to produce receipts or proof that any money has gone to the child.

That seems fair doesn’t it? I mean parents who aren’t separated get fined if they don’t spend the exact money on their child every month right? No? Well that’s strange then! Also the IRD decides for the non-separated parent’s how much it will cost to raise each of their children, right? No? So why am I being treated differently?

There must be an upside to paying child support though! Surely it allows me to see my child because I am providing financial support? No, it doesn’t. Paying child support and seeing my child (which helps to provide support) are two very separate things in the eyes of the law. Unless of course you are the custodial parent and can use non-payment as a valid reason to not allow access. Seems like a double standard and a clear bias to me.

Also in New Zealand the less I see my child, despite whatever reasons for that, the more I have to pay in child support! There is no way that can ever be abused can it? (Heavy sarcasm, in case you missed it!) So I get to pay more for the privilege of seeing my child less!

There are also agreements with other countries to ensure people don’t just go overseas to avoid paying child support. Isn’t it strange how the authorities will ensure that the money is paid but turn a blind eye to parental alienation? Obviously money is more important than children.

If my child was being abused by the custodial parent or was allowing the abuse to occur and no-one went to check on them (like CYF refuse to), I would still have to pay child support. That means I would be paying child support to the person(s) that was abusing my child! In what world is it ok for a parent to have to pay their child’s abuser? If CYF did go and find there was abuse hopefully my child would be removed from that situation. However as we all unfortunately know this may not happen.

The same goes if I was falsely accused of something by the custodial parent, I would still have to pay them. Who else has to pay their abuser? No-one and nobody should have to.

So how else am I treated like a second class citizen?

Well if I were to get a woman pregnant and I didn’t want to keep the child, there is nothing I can do about it. (Thankfully I have never been in the situation of not wanting a child.) If she didn’t want it, then she can get an abortion. Simple as that. If she did want to keep it though, I again have no say in it and must pay for that child for 18+ years. If I want to keep it and she didn’t, well again she goes and gets an abortion and there is nothing left for me to do.

So as a male I have no reproductive rights. Just don’t have sex then you say? Well women can have sex AND still make a choice about whether they have a child or not, so why are men treated differently? If women can opt out, men should be able to as well.

I am not advocating for or against abortion, what I am advocating is for men to have a choice and some reproductive rights as well. Why can’t men sign a document stating they want nothing to do with the child and therefore waive all legal rights to it? If they try and contact the child before it is 18, then there should be repercussions, providing evidence is shown that they were the ones to initiate the contact! This would be needed so men couldn’t sign it and then have a relationship with the child but not be responsible for it. (Personally I would never sign my rights away to any child of mine but I believe that the point needs to be made.)

Speaking of children, as a man I could fall victim to paternity fraud. This is something that cannot happen to women. There is nothing to stop this happening. Again, it falls back on the honour system and we all know how well that works! So if I was concerned that a child might not be mine I can get a DNA test done to prove if I am the father right? Well yes I can, except legally I cannot force the child’s mother to agree to one. Therefore if she does not consent but still names me as the child’s father I would be obligated to pay child support and other costs for 18+ years only to find out the child isn’t mine or in fact never find out the truth.

Why can’t a DNA test be done on all new born children? A blood sample is taken anyway so it wouldn’t be difficult and paternity fraud would be a thing of the past. Why isn’t this in place already? The Care of Children Act says that children have the right to know their parents, but this doesn’t actually seem to be taken into consideration.

As a male in New Zealand if I experience domestic violence I have no-where to go. Women and children have shelters but there aren’t any for men. I guess we don’t need any? I guess it never happens to men? If it did there would be shelters for us. Except it does happen and still there are no shelters. Why? There are animal shelters as well. I guess I have fewer rights than an animal.

There is also a Male Assaults Female charge but not the other way around. Why is this? If I am beaten up by a woman and end up with a broken arm and two black eyes is this not just as traumatic if a man beats a woman up and she suffers the same injuries? Surely assault is assault? Why do women get a special law? Something seems screwy here!

Another way I am a second class citizen in New Zealand is that as a male I can be circumcised without my permission as child and no-one will bat an eyelid. However if I were a female and someone circumcised me the world would be in uproar and calling for the persons death. So why are males allowed to be circumcised but women are not?

And of course, let’s not forget the Ministry for Women! This is seemingly the only voice in the government’s ear on issues of gender. But aren’t there two genders? Why is there no equivalent for men? Do men not need one? Why? We have issues just like women. Why are we denied a voice? Why do we even need a separate ministry for either gender? New Zealand needs to do one of three things:

  1. Abolish the Ministry for Women
  2. Create a Ministry for Men or
  3. Combine the two and create a Ministry for Gender Issues

So in conclusion I am a second class citizen in New Zealand because…

I am a male

I am a father

I am a guardian

I am not a custodial parent

I earn too much but I am not rich but I am also not poor enough

I cannot afford justice

My child can be kidnapped and there is nothing I can do

No-one will uphold my rights or my child’s rights

I don’t have the same rights as other people

I am not allowed access to my child’s medical or school records

No agencies/courts that are set up to help children will help mine, at least not if I request them to

The media cannot report my story

I am forced to pay someone money whether I can afford it or not and if I don’t then there are consequences

I have no reproductive rights

If I experience domestic violence there are no shelters for me

If I am circumcised no-one cares… because I am a male

Apparently if I am abused or assaulted then it isn’t as bad as if it happens to a woman, even if we have the same injuries

There is no specific Ministry set up for men

There are laws to protect some people more than others and I am not one of the ones protected

New Zealand needs to have courts that actually work and people/agencies that can and will act when people are breaching court orders or are breaking the law. The laws need to be reworked so everyone has the same rights and access to justice, no matter how much money is in their wallets. To be honest, the way things are currently, I am surprised I am even allowed to vote!

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The London Fog

Anyone who has more than a passing interest in The Doors, “band from Venice” as the sign above the seedy Sunset Strip club once read, will know the importance of the London Fog to the Doors story. It is here we are told that they honed their skills and Jim Morrison gained his confidence to face the audience instead of just the band. From the London Fog they moved up to the prestigious Whisky a Go Go, where they furthered their musicianship and finally got signed to Elektra Records. Not many Doors fans would have ever have imagined they would hear what The Doors were like at the London Fog, but it has finally happened with the release of The Doors: London Fog 1966 box set.

The London Fog was just a few doors (pun intended) up from the Whisky a Go Go and was run by a man named Jesse James (no, not THAT Jesse James). The club by all accounts was dodgy and so were the clientele. What better place for the Doors to play and start out? They were, after all, the antithesis of most bands at the time who were singing sweetly about love and freedom. The Doors would cover those topics as well, but with a harsh edge that felt and still feels more close to the truth than some airy fairy song telling you that everything is fine.

Now to the box set… it has some fun items in it to take you back to 1966 and probably to make you feel you are getting more than you are, such as a postcard that looks like the aforementioned sign and a coaster. I am not sure if the coasters are made to look like the original ones or if the club even had coasters! An interesting note about the coaster is that it has a smudged phone number on the back of it with Pamela Courson written above it. Pam was Jim Morrison’s girlfriend and would inspire many songs and poems of his. Jim and Pam met in The London Fog, despite what you see in Oliver Stone’s movie, so it is a nice touch. Pam would also tragically die at the age of 27, just like Jim.

Once you are past the “filler” items in the box you get to the main attraction… the music! One of the Doors “Holy Grail” items.

They start off with a cover of Rock Me and Baby Please Don’t Go. Both songs sound great and so does Morrison’s voice. Is this really at the fog? You can’t help but wonder that as they sound so good.

From there we get our first listen to a Doors original, You Make Me Real. This song wouldn’t make it onto a Doors album until their 5th, Morrison Hotel. The skeletons of the version we know and love are present but this is much looser and feels almost beach boys inspired with some of its surf-music sounds.

Another cover, Don’t Fight It, is really good and they seem to be having fun with and also on the following number (also a cover) Hoochie Coochie Man. Ray Manzarek takes the lead vocals on this one and certainly does it justice. The Doors always played the blues well. Anyone who thinks that L.A. Woman, which is essentially a blues album, was a departure of their sound needs to listen to this recording.

One song that Doors fans have long lamented that there is no live recording of is Strange Days. Fans can now tick that off the list as it is included on this release. The song, which appeared on their second album and which the album was named after, sounds almost complete. If they had used a Moog synthesizer that night, it might have almost sounded exactly the same.

The recording ends after a rendition of Lucille by Little Richard, a song that Ray Manzarek didn’t even remember they played. It’s not as flamboyant as Little Richard’s recording but I don’t think anyone will be surprised by that.

So that is where the recording ends… for now. Nettie Pena, who captured The Doors on tape that night, recorded a second reel as well, but sadly it is missing. She is hoping to find it and Doors fans everywhere are hoping that she does. The second reel contains an early version of The End, minus the oedipal section, and Light My Fire.

The recording is a missing piece in The Doors history. We have songs from Rick and the Ravens, from which the Doors spawned and the early demo’s from 1965, where they are raw and hungry and have a very 60’s sound. The Fog slots in nicely after that and then we move onto the debut album. Now the only missing link is the Whisky a Go Go.

After listening to this record you will understand how they were plucked from playing in front of a few undesirables and prostitutes to playing in front of packed houses at the Whisky, in such a short time frame.

It’s been said that The Doors had enough material when they were recording their self-titled, debut album to fill three albums. It appears that possibly even more of their songs were written in this early period than had been imagined.

The London Fog didn’t survive the 60’s and was never a popular club compared to a lot of others on the Strip at the time and would be all but forgotten now if it weren’t for The Doors. The only other bands that played there were The Us, The Enemy’s and The Lost Souls*. Now with the box set released, The London Fog will never be forgotten.

Can we have a Doors show from the Whisky now please?

London Fog

*Thanks to the London Fog Facebook page for that info.

Posted in Music | Tagged , ,

Lights… Camera… er… um… Line please?

When I was just a little Kerrin Revell I dreamt of having my own sketch comedy show and today that dream got a little bit closer. It’s still respecting my personal boundaries though.

We started filming one of the few sketches planned for this year, which will serve as an appetiser for the show, which is called The Aghast Raisin Man Show.

The help we (my wife and I) have had so far has been amazing. We have had crew members and actors and actresses helping out just for the sheer joy of it. Not to mention people who have loaned us animals or allowed us to film on their properties.

It’s so much fun creating something that will make people laugh and there really is nothing like seeing something that you thought up in your weird little brain, coming to life right in front of you.

I can’t wait to see the finished videos and find out how they end! Oh wait! Oh well… I am still excited.

studio light

Posted in comedy, News

Uncle

When my wife Genna and I rode our horses around New Zealand (Down, Across & Up) we met a real force of nature… a man who only wanted to be known as Uncle.

He was our guardian angel on the trek and a great friend. Throughout the trek he would either call or show up unexpectedly. His advice was always sound and his laughter was infectious.

Uncle shared our love for life and horses (especially pacers).

We kept in touch with him after the trek and we are proud to have called him our friend. Sadly, yesterday morning Uncle passed away. The world lost a great man. RIP Uncle, we love you.

Uncle

Posted in News

An open letter about the New Zealand Family Court and Law

16 January 2015

To whom it may concern (and this should concern everyone),

Throughout my dealings with the New Zealand Family Court and everyone who is involved in it, I keep hearing the term “in the best interests of the children” but have yet to see any evidence of this. I understand that no law or system is perfect yet it should at the very least be serving its purpose. I would like an answer to all of the following please and if you don’t have an answer, I would like to know what is going to be done about it, when or why nothing is going to be done about it or of course if something has been done about it.

If everything in the family court system and law is “in the best interests of the child” could you please explain to me how it is in the best interests of the child for…

there not to be compulsory DNA tests performed at birth?

one parent to continue to act badly (deny access etc) because the system allows them to?

the answer from all authorities, that are supposed to be there to help children (and the public), is just to “get a lawyer” or “just give up” or “there’s nothing we can do”?

the Human Rights Commission to refuse to help with any human rights issues in regards to the family court?

a parent/guardian to not have access to the child’s medical records?

a child to be left in the care of an unfit parent?

a child to be left in the care of a parent/family who abuse the other parent and tell lies constantly to the child about the other parent?

men to have no rights while the woman is pregnant?

CYFS to ignore concerns raised with them?

parents not being able to force (through the courts) a DNA test?

parents to be charged more Child Support than they can afford?

parents to be financially penalised if they cannot make the child support payments?

parents to pay someone (Child Support) who is abusing their child and them (the paying parent)?

a parent to be able to use Child Support as a weapon? Either asking the paying parent to pay more or they won’t see the child or if the parent misses a payment, using that as an excuse to not allow the child and parent to see each other. Whilst at the same time not allowing a paying parent to postpone payments if they are not having contact with the child?

a father to have to pay back-dated Child Support if he finds outs he is a father after the birth (sometimes years after)?

a parent to be paying more for a child that is not in their care than for a child that is in their care?

a parent to be given a financial incentive to not allow the child to see the other parent very often, if at all? This is what is going to happen once the new Child Support laws come in soon.

parents to be bankrupted or put under severe financial stress by unfair child support demands?

the IRD to charge ludicrous amounts of Child Support based on imaginary earnings?

there to be no right of reply if the IRD decides to uphold or increase the wrongful assessment after an administrative review?

there to be no checks in place to ensure child support is actually being spent on the children?

child support to be based on income not proper living costs?

the IRD to charge a parent more Child Support if they get a raise, but if they receive less income, they won’t decrease the amount they have to pay?

the IRD to reassess a parent’s child support payments at any stage without any proof of any change of circumstances?

the Child Support a parent pays is assessed on the previous year’s earnings and not on their current earnings?

a parent to pay more child support than the other parent receives if they are on a benefit?

a child to have no idea the other parent is contributing financially to their upbringing and well-being?

a parent to completely alienate a child/children from their other parent and family?

a child not to know who its father is?

children to miss out on relationships with their siblings?

one parent not to know where the child lives/goes to school/anything about them at all, even when no protection order is in place?

parents to able to cancel visits for no reason and for the other parent to have no way to explain to the child why or to recoup any expenses they may have paid in order to see the child? (Without of course, going back to court and/or mediation and spending more money and time.)

a parent to cut short any agreed times the child and other parent may be spending together, for no reason?

a parent to withhold information about the child from the other parent?

a parent can keep another parent away from special events or celebrations in the child’s life, with or without the use of threats? Despite that parent being able to attend events of their other children and friends children without any problems?

a child to have no idea that they are about to spend a day/weekend etc with the other parent?

children to be denied the right to a balanced and happy upbringing?

there not to be 50/50 shared parenting from the beginning?

parents to have to wait a year or more to even get to mediation?

one parent to go to mediation/court as often as they like due to them being eligible for aid?

the costs of the “system” be so enormous that only people on legal aid or who are extremely wealthy can afford to try and get justice for their children?

there to be no consequences for lying?

mediators/judges to have no power in a mediation?

a lawyer for child to only talk to one of the parents and then claim to have all the information they need?

there to be no requirement to provide evidence for any allegations made against one of the parents?

a school to completely ignore the rights of a non-custodial parent?

a parent to have to pay a large sum just to try and get a court order upheld in the family court, which lawyers say won’t do anything but anger the judge?

the Family Court to work in secrecy so no-one can find out how bad it is, therefore no real changes will be made?

sole custody to be overwhelmingly granted to mothers?

the courts to put parents through a trial of new procedures and not inform the parents of it? Causing the parents to lose more time and money as the lawyer has to do more work to figure out what is going on?

all the family courts around different parts of the country to run differently causing the parent to lose more time and money as the lawyer has to do more work to figure out what is going on?

lawyers, court staff, judges and mediators to be able lie without consequences?

guardians to not be able to make any decisions or be involved in any decisions in the child’s life? Sure they can go to court, but then it is more money spent and by the time they get there, or even to mediation it will be too late? Also after all of that, there is no guarantee they will even be able to be involved in the decisions anyway.

there to be no penalties enforced or consequences for a parent who breaks a parenting order?

there to be the threat of imprisonment for breaking a parenting order? (Even though this is seldom/if ever enforced?)

the system to be so unfair and unreliable that parents just give up on the system which leaves them no alternative?

a father to be unable to get an injunction for the mother to leave town/the country while she is pregnant, yet being able to do so once the child is born?

mediators etc to be able to “forget” to do certain things and forcing the parent to restart the process from the beginning?

parenting orders to be made in the absence of one parent?

one parent to be able to delay counselling/mediation/court proceedings?

parents not to be able to use in court anything that is said or done in mediation?

a mediator/judge to allow a parent to leave a mediation to ask the advice of someone not involved in the process, who is not a lawyer, guardian or parent, on every single point/matter raised? In other words how can they allow someone who is not involved, to have a direct influence on the proceedings/outcome which affects the children?

the courts to try and pressure a parent into signing a parenting order that they do not agree with?

people who work in the Family Courts to continue working there when they know that it is ineffective? I have lost count of how many times I have been told “most fathers would have given up by now” or “I feel sorry for the parent who does everything right and still can’t get anywhere”.

them to go their entire childhood thinking their other parent doesn’t love or care for them, only to find out once they are an adult that it was all a lie and that the only reason they never saw their other parent was due to a nasty, lying parent and ineffective courts, laws and authorities?

the media to not be allowed to report on anything to do with the Family Court or Child Support?

there to be advertisements only showing males/fathers as bad/potentially bad people?

women to be allowed to have children in prison?

a letter like this to be a parent’s only legal course of action left after trying everything else?

There are of course other questions in regards to the New Zealand Family Court/law but I have only focussed on the best interests of the child. I may have missed a number of things off this list that children and other parents have experienced, but I think these questions are a pretty good starting point.

I look forward to your answers and witnessing the changes needed to protect our children, thank you.

 

Yours sincerely,

22

 

 

Kerrin Revell

You can reply at kerrin.revell@gmail.com

Posted in Open Letter

Vinyl, Vinyl Everywhere!

On the weekend I attended my first record fair and thoroughly enjoyed it. I went armed with my list of albums that I wanted but I knew that I would just grab whatever took my fancy. My wife and friends joined me and we all came away with some really good vinyl albums.

Great tunes were flying off the turntables and fuelling the excited atmosphere as tons of people (mainly middle aged men) sifted through bins full of vinyl records. You could tell everyone was looking for THAT album (whatever it was for each person) and yet there was no nastiness and people were helping each other out. I will however admit to hoping that that one girl would change her mind and not buy that album she had in her hands as I wanted it. However a few minutes later I bought one that she wanted. I thanked the Vinyl Gods for that tasty bit of karma and carried on.

When we all reconvened outside I realised that I had the biggest stack of records and for a split second wondered if I had bought too many. That thought was short lived however as I was actually wanting to go back in and buy some more.

I don’t have much else to say in this blog except share with you the albums that I bought.

To quench my jazz thirst I purchased Miles Davis with John Coltrane. You can’t go wrong with either of those names… or their music, come to think of it!

Miles Davis with John Coltrane

My favourite band when I was a kid was INXS, so it seemed natural to add more INXS to my collection with their album X.

INXS X

As I was picking my way through a box my fingers screeched to a halt when I found the Cars. This is a really good album and I love the front cover.

The Cars - The Cars

I grabbed a copy of Fleetwood Mac Rumors and my wife asked if I had only bought it because of the name. The property we live on used to be called Fleetwood. I informed her that it wasn’t the only reason!

fleetwood mac - rumours

The Travelling Wilburys album is a must have and I am glad to finally have it on vinyl as I have been meaning to get it for some time now.

The Travelling Wilburies

To please my inner clown I couldn’t go past two great comedy albums; Monty Python Live at Drury Lane and Spike Milligan’s Milligan Preserved.

Monty Python - Live at Drury Lane

Spike Milligan - Milligan Preserved

And of course I bought some Doors albums too. I bought a new, sealed copy of Strange Days and an old one (yes I am that insane), Full Circle (complete with zoetrope) and a copy of Robby Krieger’s (guitarist for the Doors) No Habla.

The Doors - Strange Days - Sealed The Doors - Strange Days The Doors - Full Circle Robby Krieger - No Habla

I also bought a 12’ single of People Are Strange by Echo and the Bunnymen from the film The Lost Boys.

The Lost Boys - echo and the bunnymen - people are stange

The only album my wife came away with is something that I dread to put on here… the soundtrack to Jonathon Livingstone Seagull. In my opinion one of the worst movies ever made. I fell asleep a number of times trying to watch it and I am insomniac! That’s how boring it is. I guess the soundtrack is ok, but of course that might have helped me sleep. Perhaps I have finally found a cure for my insomnia? Nah… I don’t want to listen to it. Love you honey!

NEIL DIAMOND - Jonathon Livingston Seagull

Not a bad days shopping really. In fact this is the only shopping I enjoy.

The down side to all of this is that it has once again woken the vinyl beast within and it won’t be satisfied until I offer it more!

Now to find the time to sit back and listen to them all… except for the sealed one of course!

Posted in Music

Discovering new music… that you didn’t want.

Imagine waking up and going to your CD/vinyl collection and finding an album that you have never bought or wanted amongst them, with no idea how it got there. How creepy would that be? That’s the reality iTunes users have woken up to. Apple has given U2’s new album to all of their iTunes users, for free… whether they want it or not.

I find this to be a really strange decision by both Apple and U2.

First of all let’s look at what Apple has done. They have given away something for free, as most companies do from time to time. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a good marketing ploy… UNLESS of course you dictate that everyone will have the freebie. If you buy something over the counter and they include a freebie, you can either take it or politely refuse it. At least you have that option. What Apple have done is given you the freebie, without an option and without you buying anything. From what I see on the Twitter feeds is that there are a lot of angry and confused people and to be honest, I don’t blame them.

Why didn’t they just have it as an option to download it or not?

This may not have been the best time for Apple to do this considering the recent iCloud hacking. There were plenty of people who were (with valid reasons) worried about the safety of it. Imagine being one of those people and then all of a sudden you hear music you didn’t pay for or download. Alarm bells would be going off.

So what are the benefits for Apple by doing this? I guess by having a well-known band release an album alongside their own products shows consumers what a big player they are and how important their products and services are.

Other than publicity stunt, I don’t really get it.

Now for U2… do they really value their music at $0? That’s the message they are sending. In business you set a price at what you believe your product is worth. If you set it at zero, then that is what it is worth. Of course you can give away a copy here and there for promotion purposes and what-not, but to give millions of copies away for free is something else.

Did they really think this was a way to win new fans? I’m sure the U2 fans are happy; if not a tad embarrassed! Most people seem to just be asking how they can delete it. All U2 have done is angered people. Perhaps the album should have been called Songs of Annoyance?

Here is a news flash for U2… not everyone is a fan of yours. Not everyone wants a U2 album or song. I feel the need to point this out as you have decided everyone must be or soon will be.

Of course U2 aren’t that stupid and they will have been paid a handsome sum by Apple for all of the albums they’ve given away. Which answers my previous question of why it wasn’t just there as an option.

Billboard is refusing to recognise this as a release until they release the album for purchase in both physical and digital forms. Why any iTunes users (other than hard-core U2 fans) would run out and pay for the physical album is beyond me.

So what’s in it for U2 other than financial gains and free publicity? (Insert chirping cricket noises here)

So much for artistic integrity.

This whole debacle brings me to think about the state of the music industry.

I recently read a good article about how iTunes and streaming sites are destroying musicians and how it has become like digital communism and I believe this stunt is the perfect example of it. You will all have this album and you will all listen to it.

Is this what we can expect in the future of music that some albums will be mandatory? Probably not considering they still can’t make people listen to it.

The article goes on to discuss how iTunes values all songs at a set price. Whether it is a masterpiece or the new single by whoever the latest band is that makes you want to cut your ears off, it doesn’t matter; the price is the same. Which really explains why so many people are upset with the state of music these days.

If a label can produce and mass market someone with questionable talent and music that sounds the same as everything else  at the moment and get the same revenues as a big name band who will demand greater things, guess who the label will choose? It means more money for them. That’s how big businesses think.

It has made me laugh and happy to know that there are all these people complaining about getting an album for free, when all we hear about is how this generation expects everything for free. Then of course my brain switches to the negative and worries that this is setting a precedent for consumers who will expect every album for free. I’m not so worried if they expect every U2 album for free, as U2 have done that to themselves.

What good has this done for the music industry? I think I need that cricket noise again!

So in summation I believe this was a terrible idea from both Apple and U2. I don’t believe it will hurt Apple all that much as people will continue to use iTunes but it has hurt U2. It hasn’t hurt U2 financially as I am sure they were paid very well by Apple but it has hurt their reputation and may hurt them financially in the future.

Of course it’s not all bad, both are getting free publicity. I myself would never usually write about either one but here I am doing exactly that. Whilst my blog has been mainly negative (and I really did try to find the positives) it is still free advertising and publicity for them and there is no such thing as bad publicity. So well done guys… I fell for it.

P.S.

I don’t use iTunes and don’t see myself using it in the foreseeable future; I just thought this was an interesting situation.

Posted in Music

A Musical Weekend

This weekend had a real musical flavour to it and the best part was that I didn’t have to travel very far to enjoy it.

On Saturday my wife, daughter and I went into the Art Stop Café in Helensville to have some lunch and stumbled into Luke Hurley who was singing and playing guitar there.

I hadn’t heard of Luke before and now that I have listened to his music, I’m genuinely surprised that I hadn’t!

What a talent. He is a master of the guitar. It’s not often you can find an artist or band where you like every song, but Luke is one of them. I especially enjoyed the one where he played slide guitar… sadly I don’t remember the name of it. (I am partial to some slide guitar anyways)

My daughter Elektra danced and sang (well, made loud noises anyway) along with his music, which Luke seemed to enjoy.

We were privileged to have Luke join us for a drink at our table when he took a break. He let Elektra play with his guitar. She proceeded to whack it and pluck its strings with enthusiasm.

We discussed life a little and then it was time for Luke to play some more of his wonderful music.

He will be back at the Art Stop Café in Helensville this weekend from 11:30am till about 3pm. We will be back for more. There is no cover charge and we can recommend the burgers.

Sunday brought what is possibly the strangest (but still good) musical gig I’ve ever been to. I would say it is even stranger than the gig with bean bags, cupcakes and fairy lights!

At first it doesn’t sound too odd; a band playing in a church. What made it weird was the fact that church was tiny… very tiny. It was almost full and there were about twenty people there. Which brings me to the second reason why it was so strange… half the audience was elderly! They seemed to enjoy it and why shouldn’t they? It was good music and that will please anyone of any age.

The third reason why it was so strange was that afterwards we were treated to tea and home-made goodies (pikelets and cookies etc.).

The band was Tweed, who we are making a music video for.

The gig was tinged with sadness as it was Ross’ (the bass player) last outing with the band.

Elektra once again danced to every song and probably almost stole the show by doing so.

As we were leaving I couldn’t help myself and I hung out the window and shouted to Tweed “ROCK N ROLL!” I wonder what the grannies thought?

All in all it was a good weekend filled with great music, just how life should be.

(Note: the photos were taken on my phone)

Luke Hurley

Luke Hurley

Baby rocking out on guitar

Baby rocking out on guitar

Tweed

Tweed

Posted in Music

Update 29/08/14

Here is what I have been up to recently…

First of all, I haven’t been updating much as I have been sick with one thing after the next. To top it all off I have now sprained my ankle and my knee. I managed this by trying to avoid standing on my daughter! (I succeeded just not very elegantly)

With Purple Sheep Productions I have recently directed a music video for the band Tweed. We filmed this with no budget and almost no crew. The band members were roped into various jobs when they weren’t on screen! We are not sure of the release date yet, but I’ll keep you updated.

In Loopy Entertainment news we recently went into the recording studio with a great band called Tweed to record the Loopy Entertainment Theme Tune.

We had a few meetings with Tweed to discuss ideas for the theme tune and once it was finalised we went into Earwig Studios and recorded it. We recorded it to 24-track, 4 inch tape, no digital for us thank you very much!

The recording process was quite chilled out and exciting.  New ideas were thought up on the spot and recorded, giving us more options when we come to use it.

Originally it was just to be the theme tune for The Aghast Raisin Man Show (which it still will be) but now it will also be the official Loopy Theme Tune too.

Tweed somehow managed to compose it brilliantly from my (possibly vague) instructions. It is exactly what I had in mind. They really are talented musicians to be able produce a piece of music from a description I have only ever had in my head.

It is great to be moving forward, having the theme music is a big step.

Loopy Toons are still coming out each Saturday and there are more things to come in the future, but more on that later.

We photographed both the music video and the Loopy Theme Tune recording session of which a few photos can be seen below.

Tweed music video Tweed music video Tweed music video Tweed music video

Loopy theme tuneLoopy theme tune

Posted in comedy, Music, News