What’s going on at Lilyworld?
One of Auckland's biggest stadiums is trying to keep a defunct New Zealand music festival alive. Plus, the other big stories you might have missed this week.
Kia ora and welcome to The Spinoff Weekend. It’s been a bad week for Netflix, which sent shivers down the spine of streaming services everywhere when it lost subscribers for the first time. Then there’s Elon Musk, who caused confusion by buying Twitter. What does he want it for? We’re covering those stories, plus Arise Church, Chris Luxon’s Jack Tame interview, and the truth about those Bunnings ads. Plus, why has Mt Smart opened a permanent music venue called Lilyworld? Relax, kick back and pour yourself a fresh cup of Coffee Supreme. You made it. Welcome to the weekend.
-Chris Schulz, senior writer
Out at Mt Smart Stadium, they’re remembering the good old days of the Big Day Out. With Lilyworld, stadium staff have introduced a new, permanent venue that plays off the name of one of the festival’s silliest stages, the Lilypad. By day, Lilyworld is a cafe and bar, with a full menu, mini-golf and ping pong tables for the kids. But at night it’s a bar that can morph into a live music venue. “If you’ve got decks there, decks over there, and a new bar, then this becomes an amphitheatre,” says Scott Couch, who gave me a tour of his new venue. The ultimate dream? “We would love — we would love — the Big Day Out to come back,” says Scott. Find out more about his big plans here.
It’s been nearly a month since Foo Fighters cancelled their Auckland show, so where are the refunds? Ticketmaster is blaming an “unprecedented” incident.
David Farrier’s ongoing investigation into Arise Church has been riveting reading lately (find it all on his Substack). For one former church-goer, it’s been triggering too. “I was desperate for a sense of belonging and I was vulnerable,” says Courtney Rose Brown, who joined the church at a young age. She worked six days a week, tithed, and felt insanely guilty anytime she ever did anything remotely ungodly. Her recovery has been a lengthy journey. “It took a whole year after leaving the church before I felt comfortable swearing, two years before I looked into medication for my anxiety, three years before I felt confident in my sexuality.” You can find out what Courtney went through, and how she thinks about the church now, here.
From our friends at Coffee Supreme: It feels like we’re all spending more time at home at the moment. Naturally, this means keeping your mug topped up and rocking your slippers during those online meetings (yeah, we see you). Having your favourite oat milk, peanut butter or chocolate within reach can be a real day-maker. Not only do Supreme have your coffee needs taken care of, they’ve also made keeping your pantry shelves stocked super easy with their free shipping and next day delivery. Grab your favourite pantry bits here.
Tesla owner Elon Musk sent shock waves through the social media world by buying Twitter this week for US$44 billion (around NZ$66 billion). Why does he want it? “It’s still a little nebulous, but the endgame seems to be: societal change via free speech,” says Josie Adams, who seems to have become The Spinoff’s Elon Musk expert. “Musk has said the platform has ‘extraordinary potential’ and he will be the one to unlock it." So should we all delete our Twitter accounts? Josie says not just yet. “We should probably all delete all social media,” she says. “But I will not be doing this.” Read her full breakdown of Elon’s Twitter purchase here.
For more on Elon Musk’s Twitter antics, Duncan Greive takes a look at that, and the downfall of Netflix, in a special edition of his podcast, The Fold.
According to much of the Twitter fallout, Jack Tame had the better of Chris Luxon after their recent showdown on Q&A, pestering the National leader with tricky questions about Covid, tax policy and his party’s constant complaints about Labour’s spending. But the leader of the opposition didn’t do as terribly as everyone says, argues Liam Hehir. “Overall, he really didn’t do so badly,” says Liam. “He was certainly no worse than Jacinda Ardern has been whenever she has been grilled by Tame.” The problem is his response to National’s tax policy. Find out what Luxon should have said, and how National should change its views on that, here.
Filling John Campbell’s shoes is no easy feat. Kamahl Santamaria tells Toby Manhire why he left the Middle East to return to NZ to wake up at 3am.
Everyone saw this coming – except, it seems, Netflix. When the TV streaming giant announced it had lost 200,000 subscribers, and would soon lose two million more, its share price tanked more than 40%. Duncan Greive says it’s a big problem. “This was the market saying that it believed this was not a blip but a new reality – that the endless growth was over, and the company might already be far closer to its ceiling now than the 500 million or billion subs it envisaged.” The fallout is affecting every streaming service, including those in New Zealand. “All have suffered major setbacks to their stock price, which collectively expresses a doubt from investors that the market will scale to be as big or profitable as once thought.” Read Duncan’s full analysis here.
Is the real problem with Netflix that it’s just not that good? Maybe.
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Have you ever wondered whether those Bunnings Warehouse characters who appear in all its TV ads are real people or actors? So has Alex Casey. “The cheery soundbites from Bunnings staffers are such a TV mainstay that they’ve become a source of parody and even occasional outrage,” writes Alex. “But what goes on behind the scenes to make the ads look so effortless?” To find out, she gave Bunnings a call and discovered that yes, they’re real staff members who are often recognised by customers for their starring roles, and even receive a commemorative badge. A spokesperson says for many “it’s a real highlight of their Bunnings career”. Find out more here.
Everything else we loved this week…
Among the casualties of Russia’s appalling war in Ukraine is the world’s biggest plane. New York Times (paywalled) has the story of the Mriya.
At online grocer Supie, founder Sarah Balle sleeps on the floor of her office and naps in her car as she tries to take on the supermarket duopoly.
The Handmaid’s Tale, The Invisible Man, Shining Light: How does Elizabeth Moss keep playing such brutal roles with a smile on her face? She tells the New Yorker (paywalled) she finds it “fun”.
Seen Justin Bieber’s ‘I Feel Funny’ video? According to a savage takedown by Jezebel, you should stay well away — even if it is about to hit No. 1. Funny, that.
Already seen Netflix series The Tinder Swindler? Then it’s time to read the New Yorker’s paywalled story on the worst boyfriend on the Upper East Side.
Wondering what to do with all of those feijoas lying around on the ground? We’ve got 13 ideas and you should definitely try out the trifle recipe.
Finally, Arcade Fire’s new album is out today and while I’ve never been a fan of the Canadian troupe, something really grabbed me about their performance at Coachella. I’ll definitely be giving their new album, We, a good long spin this weekend, including this highlight, written about Win Butler’s young son…