PRESS RELEASE, Cleaning out the Garage, 2003
Ministry of Words

Comments so far:

"Not since Roger McGough and the Liverpool Poets has such a musical experience happened. It is diverse yet still keeping that candid Kiwi sense of compatibility. A good audio and visual adventure awaits all those who are bold enough to step into this world. Thanks Keith for the insight into our life, living and struggles. The musical backdrop just adds to the whole lyrical cameo," - John the Foxx, reviewer.

"Brilliant CD. I’ve been listening to you cleaning out your garage while cleaning out my own. I really dig the overall effect - the words and sounds are usually a very good combination," – John Blackham, software developer, entrepreneur.

“Vocally, very good, a wide range of subjects and styles selected. Musically I loved it.  Excellent production all round.  Variation in musical styles and instruments adds colour and stimulates interest. Very ‘listenable’, invokes nice easy feeling, good mood, pleasant and thought provoking. Choice!,” Phil Gibens, a biased friend and former radio DJ now based in Australia.

”Really enjoyed the words and music, quite a good match, nice pace, and some powerful, descriptive, messages. My all time fave is the 'cleaning out the garage', - Annalise Heslin, psychotherapist, counselor and friend.

Dear discerning columnist, critic, editor, reviewer,

It’s a very Kiwi thing to hoard stuff that may be useful one day. However, when you can’t get into your garage because of the junk or it's painfully obvious you’re suffering from information or emotional overload its time to take stock and clear some space.

My name is Keith Newman, I’m a journalist and occasional poet. I have come to recognise the importance of regular spring cleaning, both of the physical garage and of the cluttered life which can so easily become littered with ideas, concepts and thought patterns which have passed their use-by date.

Recovering after a broken marriage, three redundancies and faced with dozens of unfinished projects forced me to conduct an internal and external inventory to free up some head and heartspace.

Click the pic for 300dpi version for print media (KeithMediapic.htm)

Opposite head & shoulders (KeithMediapic2.htm: click for 300 dpi) Photos: Olivia Newman, aged 14-years

I began listening closely to some of the inane brain-roof chatter going on in my head and decided it was time for some fresh thinking about who I was and where to next.   

As I went through the photographs I’d taken and the poems and articles written over the years, I began visualising a collage of the most interesting bits of my life so far.  I saw some of the poems being put to music and others in a book. I sent select copies of my word creations to guitarist and composer Gav Collinge and began collating others into a electronic collection. As I built the the words into a web on my hard disk I began to see the potential for another multimedia CD-Rom and a book.

The project quickly came to be called Cleaning out the Garage. The CD contains 17 rhythmic spoken word creations with backing by professional musicians and other ambient and harder edged pieces created by cutting up royalty free tracks in the studio and adding effects and voice clips. 

The new compilation, coming 5-years after my first multimedia CD Buzz Words, is more hard hitting lyrically and musically and sits into more of a groove. 

This time around I worked hard with the musicians and engineer Neil Hannan selecting the right sound effects and rhythms to suit the lyrics and create a more flowing feel.

I believe the result is similar to what the beat poets of the 50s set out to do when they worked with the jazz or experimental musicians of their time.

The lyrical content challenges traditional ‘happy clappy’ religion and soul destroying end-time theories, explores the mysteries of the human mind and the magic of the spiritual journey, dips into the despair of loneliness in a piece inspired by New Zealand’s high youth suicide rate, and celebrates relationships and the need to have a family of friends.

In other tracks we celebrate the patterns and synchronistic events that help make sense of the journey, rant about the rising new middle class who’s only hope in life seems to be winning Lotto, and rail against speed cameras (a revenue gathering exercise for the Police who seem preoccupied with catching those with the occasional heavy foot rather than chasing real criminals), and information overload which leaves so many people feeling like they need to have their brain defragmented.  

The CD features guitarist, composer Gav Collinge (Powerhouse, Cheek Ta Cheek) who co-wrote and played on Safeland, Nero, Family of Friends and title track Cleaning out the Garage. Guitarist Phil Pritchard (Highway) co-wrote the music and played on New Middle Class and Running out of Space, bass player and engineer Neil Hannon co-wrote the music for Running out of Space and So You Think This is It? Vocalist Jacqui FitzGerald provides backing on Nero and Family of Friends. There are a number of sampled pieces including Brimstone Fingers, compiled from two old Human Instinct tracks (with permission of course).

The CD which plays on a normal audio player as well as a computer should auto-run when placed it into a Windows-based PC (or on opening the index.htm file through a browser on a Macintosh). The viewer is presented with an internal website containing the Garage Web Book featuring 39 recent poems, another hundred or so works in a ‘best of…’ archive from the past 25-years and a veritable gallery of artwork including creations by my wife, artist Paula Novak (Istra).

The mini-web on the CD also contains links to controversial articles I’ve written including: Starway to Heaven, Knowledge in the Stars, Beastly Rumours Persist, The Real Bible Code plus quotes and inspirational pieces and fragments of my life story.  

There are MP3 files of songs from Guy Wishart and Tony Littlejohn, which feature lyrics written by myself plus instrumental pieces from Gav Collinge.

Personal Quotes:

"Sometimes it takes 10-years or longer to see fruit from the seeds you sow. It takes the patience of a cheese maker to be a visionary, a pioneer or simply to go the distance with what you passionately believe in. Having determined a goal we must invest in it with faith and hope then learn to love to wait. Everyday as we understand more about how the world works we can massage reality, reinventing ourselves to align with the physical and spiritual principals that govern our lives. This requires periods of soul searching where we are challenged to let go of ideas and even possessions that stand in the way of the future we desire to inhabit. If the truth is to set us free we must regularly undergo a life inventory, prioritise and move forward with renewed hope and a lightened load. I have come to call the process 'cleaning out the garage'," – Keith Newman, October 2002.


"Each major wind shift or crisis in my life has helped me adjust my course and my attitude, requiring me to throw some excess cargo overboard. These little deaths have often required a fundamental transformation of mind allowing me to leave bits of my old life behind so I can pull anchor and get a much clearer vision of what new lands might lie ahead. I don't pretend my life is any more significant than anyone else's but as a writer I have the gift to record and share my experiences. I’ve chosen to work with some great musicians to put my words to music as I’ve literally and figuratively conducted an inventory and cleaned out my garage," Keith Newman, October 2002.


About Keith Newman:

I’m a poet, lyricist and career journalist writing for mainstream media about telecommunications, computing, the internet, the arts and creativity.

I’ve written poems, prose and have had about 50 of my lyrics published and recorded by musicians including  Palmerston North new wave unit Snatch (EP 1981), Guy Wishart (1983,84), the double album by Blerta founding member Tony Littlejohn (2001) and Gav Collinge (on his The Gav 2002) album.

I’ve released several self-published books over the past 20-years including For People Only (1981) and Heartwars (1984).

Cleaning Out the Garage (2003) is my second foray into multimedia production. Buzz Words, the first 'blue book' CD-Rom in New Zealand was launched in 1997 featuring rhythm 'n verse and multimedia content. This outing, a collaboration between myself and composer / musician Gav Collinge as Wordworx, was selected by Allan Morton, owner of CD production company Software Images as a Christmas gift for about 700 business executives across the country.

Distributor BMG was keen to pick up Buzz Words and offered to market it. The CD received critical acclaim making it to the front page of the arts section of the Christchurch Press and even got minor airplay. However distribution was delayed as BMG became distracted with more important artists. Buzz Words never flew as high as I had hoped.

My latest effort Cleaning out the Garage was recorded between 1999-2000, the multimedia content was developed by myself over the next two years and the CD was finally made available in mid-2003.


Contact Keith Newman
Phone: Auckland 06-8750116 (20111)

Let me tell you a story... read on...

(or mouse off to  Information Overload  
 Infopoem   Esoterrorist or  Testimony) 
Backgrounder Garage CD lyrics & music 
Electronic poetry Book 2002 Garage Book Hard copy best of