Love the "World Famous in Whanganui" series by John Maslin. The one on Johnny Devlin (Chronicle, December 29) brought back some memories, when he and his band, at the height of his national tour with screaming fans, put on a free concert for me and a few select companions.
It's another story how I ended up in Ashburton Hospital as a patient in mid-January 1959, 13 years old, in time to catch the concert that Johnny Devlin had offered the hospital.
It had started out another hot, boring Canterbury day for another boy patient and me. We had been told off — again — for racing the ward's wheelchairs along the corridor. And then the ward Sister announced that Johnny Devlin and his band were coming to do a show.
Did I want to go? For a just-teenage boy there was only one answer… And that is how I, alongside fellow patients, ended up listening to New Zealand's first rock superstar sing his chart-topping hits — live! Elvis's Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Cliff Richard's Move It were featured among the songs (Devlin recorded both tunes). What a great show. Naturally I got his autograph. Later, I got an autographed copy of Lawdy Miss Clawdy.
Five years passed, and Johnny Devlin still remembered the importance of delivering great rock 'n' roll to an audience, like he did at the hospital concert. In 1964 he was a support act for the Beatles on their Australasian tour, when a stubborn old sound engineer at Wellington's Town Hall demanded the Beatles play softly, to protect the hall's sound system from damage from the fabulous new loud "Beatle music".
John Lennon's typically caustic comments backstage got them nowhere. It was solely Johnny Devlin's diplomacy with the engineer that got the second Beatles show at a realistic rock 'n' roll volume. That little episode made the national news media.
Al Franken - sacrificial lamb?
Jay Kuten makes some good points about the situation in the US Government, of course they are mixed in with the standard Democrat Party nonsense slogans and need to be sifted out.
When we put aside the false stuff, like that US President Donald Trump "brags of assaulting women", that the Republican Tax Bill only helps the wealthy, or that there were illegitimate meetings or "collusion" between members of Trump's campaign and Russian operatives, or that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself to "avoid perjury charges", or that Senator Al Franken (a Democrat) was either a good or effective Senator, etc., we can focus on the real issues Jay touches on.
Senator Al Franken, along with Congressman John Conyers, has been pushed to step down due to allegations of sexual misconduct in the past. These men, both Democrats, have become the victims of political games perpetrated by members of their own party. Jay failed to mention, in his two columns about it, that there is a photo of Franken groping or pretending to grope a sleeping woman on a US military flight. It was one of those jokes that really wasn't funny.
But Jay is correct that Franken and Conyers should not be forced to stand down on the basis of some historical accusations, and that such accusations should be investigated properly.
The leader of the pack baying for Franken's head is Senator Kirstin Gillibrand, the Democrat who replaced Hillary Clinton as Senator for New York when Clinton became the Secretary of State for then President Barack Obama. Recently Gillibrand also said President Bill Clinton should have stepped down from the presidency when the accusations against him became an issue.
Of course the accusations against Clinton, including accusations of rape, were far more serious and credible than those against people like Franken or Trump, yet the Democrats have spent decades defending Clinton. In fact, Senator Gillibrand counted Clinton as a friend and supporter, making public statements about how good he is even just a few short months ago and thanking him for all his help in getting her to the position she is now in.
But politics is politics. With the Clinton star and influence waning, Gillibrand has thrown Bill and Hillary under the bus, followed by Al Franken, all in her bid to be the next Democrat Presidential Candidate.
Really, would you buy a used car from this woman? She seems just as bad as the previous Senator for New York.
K A BENFELL
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