Criticism over cash grant for sex song
Reporter: Edward Rooney
November 5, 1995
A publicly funded arts group has been criticized
for investing $5000 in a song re-enacting the last
moments of Peter Plumly-Walker in a bondage session.
Wellington musician Greg Malcolm's song The
Ballad of Peter Plumly-Walker , features the
sounds of whips cracking, a male voice groaning and
news reports from the murder trials.
The song has been included on an album partially
funded by Creative New Zealand - formerly known as
the New Zealand Arts Council - which received $19.6
million from the Government this year.
Graeme Lee, leader of the Christian Democrats
Party, said the song unnecessarily dragged up a past
episode that most normal people would rather forget.
"It sounds like a load of drivel that the Arts
Council is seemingly willing to put money into," he
said. "It's a load of tripe with no artistic merit
which does nothing but give an unneeded message."
Mr. Plumley-Walker died six years ago after a
bondage session with dominatrix Renee Chignall and
her partner Neville Walker. The pair, who admitted
throwing the cricket umpire's body into the Huka
Falls at Taupo, were acquitted of murder in 1991
after three trials.
Mr. Lee said Creative New Zealand seemed to have
some unusual standards. "It often makes it very
difficult for very good artists to get support," he
Mr. Malcolm, a former member of a band called The
Breathing Cage, said he realized some people might
find the song offensive, particularly Mr.
"For the family, I guess it's a bit of a bad one,"
he said. "I suppose it's bad to bring it all back up
again, but there was all that media at the time
which was much more in-your-face than we will be."
Mr. Malcolm received $5000 under a scheme for new
artists. He estimated the album cost about $30,000
He and his partner, Jenny Ward, run the Such &
Such Theatre Company, which tours kindergartens
performing for children.
Attempts to contact Creative New Zealand chairman
Brian Stevenson for comment were unsuccessful.
Death Song Warning
The Evening Post,
November 7, 1995
A Wellington musician has been warned he could be
sued over a song about the death of Peter
Plumley-Walker, who died after a bondage session six
Lawyer Christopher Harder has written to Greg
Malcolm saying defamation proceedings would be
issued if his song, The Ballad of Peter Plumley
Walker , implies the cricket umpire was
The song features cracking whips, a male voice
groaning, and news reports from the murder trials.
Mr. Harder represented Neville Walker, who with
dominatrix Renee Chignall was acquitted of his
murder after three trials.
Legal Confusion in Song
Reporter: Melanie Buford
November 13th, 1995
He writes experimental music, and in the end that's
what saved him. Wellington musician Greg Malcolm,
who was threatened with a lawsuit if his recording
of The Ballad of Peter Plumley Walker ,
suggests the man's death was murder and not
manslaughter, is off the hook because the lawyer in
question couldn't understand the song.
"I wouldn't even call it a song" said Christopher
Harder "I couldn't make sense of it". The song has
no lyrics but features sound-bites from the six year
old news coverage of the criminal case. Mr. Harder
said what he like best about the song was Pauline
Hudson's pleasant voice.
Malcolm said he recorded the song simply because
the material was there to use. He had tapes of the
news reports at the time and a copy of the book
written after the case by Mr. Harder. Also, it was
"one of those really big events in New Zealand
history, like the Parker-Hulme murder tale told in
He was surprised that the media and lawyer paid any
attention to the song. Five hundred copies of the CD
Trust Only This Face which includes the
controversial song, were made. "We've had interest
from radio stations and other dealers, but I think
we've sold only one to the public." Slowboat Records
owner Dennis O'Brien said this week.
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