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Speaker: Good Times on High Street

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  • Simon Grigg,

    Les Harvey xxxxx

    In 1978 I worked in a record shop in Parnell called Professor Longhair's, owned by the enthusiasticl Nadine Huru. The name of the shop aside we were by then the punk outlet....Nadine had a connection at Richmond Records in Melbourne and we could, if we had the order, get most things we wanted.

    I basically ran it as Nadine spent lots of time spending the profits next door at The Alex (now Iguacu) or getting over spending the profits. So I'd sit in there playing my Clash and Ramones rekkids and Les would wander in daily. We'd sit and talk and we became quite friends as Gabba Gabba Hey played in the background, and various bands milled around. It must've looked very odd...the punks and the old fella.

    He was a wonderful old gent, with countless stories, although I've never been that sure about his creation in Parnell village.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    He was a wonderful old gent, with countless stories, although I've never been that sure about his creation in Parnell village.

    I think it worked back then, and sure it helped the Alex. My Mum had a shop there and Remuera and Parnell was much more vibrant plus it gave people a space to wander around in rather than racing down the road which lets face is rather a long haul. But yes, he was a good man. I can almost see the dungarees now :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I think Parnell's vibrancy was partially the result of the fact that in those far off days it was the only place in Auckland open on a Saturday.

    We did 70% of our weeks business in the three hours we were allowed to open on Saturday morn. I know other Parnell retailers had the same experience.

    It's always been at best a rather odd shopping precinct though to my mind, a little soulless. And much of what soul it had left was demolished in the 1980s

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm not sure if it was the same trip to NZ (I was in London at the time) but courtesy of Sandra Bestall who was there here's a shot of Billy at Zanzibar. This was 1984.

    Yeah, same trip. But I'm slightly wondering if that's actually at Quays ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Dunno. I never went to Zanzibar and only twice to Quays as I was on a plane to London just after it opened

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Hollywood,

    And of course, inspired by the fledgling scene in Auckland, there were a number of movers and shakers in the lower North Island – specifically guys like Gerhard and Karl Pierard (with the Buffalo Music Show, which morphed into Fez) and Scott Bullock (Deco) in Palmy North (of all places) – which helped enable the Dance Music scene to develop a wider profile beyond the Bombay Hills. There was a time when PN was a genuine alternative for any club-obsessed Wellingtonian in the early-mid 80s – before clubs like ‘Clares’ and ‘Naked Angel’, and to a lesser extent Nick Mills’ ‘Exchequers’ really took off in the Capital – essentially because the above three DJs used their Auckland contacts to tap into the seemingly endless influx of quality imported vinyl that was being introduced to Auckland (on labels such as Streetsounds and series like Upfront etc). When you observe how commercialised today’s club scene has become, and the fact that what we called “clubbing” is almost the accepted norm for today’s yoof, you start to appreciate that these guys were genuine pioneers, albeit they were merely transporting something that was working in Auckland out into the regions. The key to it all was of course, the quality beats. I recall my own eureka moment when, following a Skeptics gig (iirc) in PN, I stumbled across Gerhard playing – what felt like very futuristic hi energy – dance music in a small cramped venue. Word of mouth came into a play and before we knew it a lower North Island scene had developed and spread to Wellington. No more Electric Ballroom (a band venue of some repute) for me! I actually recall making trips to Auckland around that time and while I can’t recall ‘Box’ specifically I do remember when the Six Month Club was all the rage. As you say Simon, great times – at a time when the world, and by extension the Dance music scene, was a lot less accessible than it is today.

    Since May 2009 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • andrew benyon,

    Friends and myself danced our asses off in the Box (cooling off in, as well as appreciating, CC at least 2 nights a week from late 89 till 94. There was no where else that was just dance.
    In the early days you couldnt chat anyone up cause the noise obliterated anything below a scream. And it seemed most people went there for the tunes. Even the girls were into dancing hard, sweating hard.
    In the many happy hours I spent in that 2 roomed cellar, I never saw any aggro from anyone, as posted earlier, a compliment to the wonderful doorstaff.
    Thanks Simon and all else involved.

    auckland • Since May 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In the early days you couldnt chat anyone up cause the noise obliterated anything below a scream. And it seemed most people went there for the tunes. Even the girls were into dancing hard, sweating hard.

    Having been to The Wag in London, and thinking it dull and pretentious -- then copping the acid house revolution in 1988, and having my life changed -- I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a club in Auckland in the summer of '89 that was about the music, and where people danced.

    Although I recall finding I danced faster than every else ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Sandra Bestall,

    Hi Russell & Simon.

    But I'm slightly wondering if that's actually at Quays ...

    Zanzibar used to be the Hungry Leopard Restaurant in the early days, hence the leopard print seating that you can see behind Billy Idol. My friend Mitch (RIP) went up and asked Billy for his autograh and took a couple of photos, everyone else sat around and acted like we didn't know he was even in the club. Kim Dale-Taylor the Black Mohawked waitress took his order for drinks and said he was an obnoxious little shit, although its sounding more like he was just off his face. I've got more shots of Zanzibar, the dance floor, Tom Sampson holding a can of what looks like a Fosters, the bar staff, Roger Perry before he became a DJ, the boys Toilets which had a picture of a cowboy on the door with a lassoo, funny stuff.

    Quays from memory was pretty stark, lots of dark wood and white walls, big long bar one end and a white DJ booth in one corner, mirrors along the dance floor wall, it was boring in comparison to Zanzibar. xx

    Noosa • Since May 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Zanzibar used to be the Hungry Leopard Restaurant in the early days

    with Chasers Nightclub downstairs (cringe!)

    i'm pretty sure before it was the Hungry Leopard it was a theatre restaurant called...sorry, that brain cell is corrupt. 404 error.
    anyway, i think my father took my sister and her friends there for her 16th birthday party.

    and btw, until about 1990, the seediest thing about Fort St. was Rock 'n' Roll Records (just joking, Kerry!)
    the street was dominated by a flour mill and a newspaper newsroom/printing works, and lots of trucks coming and going.

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Sandra Bestall,

    and btw, until about 1990, the seediest thing about Fort St. was Rock 'n' Roll Records (just joking, Kerry!)

    Is that the record shop that had the little room off to the side with second hand clothing as well as new young up and coming designers?

    Is there a connection to Strangely Normal, was that there first shop?

    Noosa • Since May 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Strangely Normal

    too many 404 error messages now!

    aah, you could be right. the record shop had a door onto the street but you had to walk down a passageway as he was tucked in behind some other shop. some of my friends used to buy Strangely Normal stuff back then too, so it could have all started at RRR, not sure. we used to score some really good records there though. and cheap. especially rare 7" stuff. like the Stridulators. come to think of it, maybe you're right about Strangely Normal being tucked in there too...

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I think SN were in Hobson Street during the RnR era in Fort. It may have been Mosquito or that other one that used to be upstairs in Vulcan Lane. There were a lot of young, quite cutting edge designers working around Auckland at the time, especially around Lorne, High and His Majesty's Arcade.

    For me, Rock'n'Roll's golden age, back when second hand record stores were your only way to get anything older than a year or two, was in Queen Street, next to where Real Groovy was, from about 1978 through to the late 1980s. I spent many hours in there, and, to my eternal regret, sold large parts of my record collection there when I went to the Uk in '83.

    Gerhard and Karl Pierard

    We've got Gertie playing at Take Me Back. He's been in Port Douglas for a few years now. Gerhard was close to PU and when ACB opened he did a similar thing in PN.

    At the end of 1985 he came to Auckland and moved, a little unexpectedly, into my living room for what was a glorious summer. I was DJing, running a record label releasing dance records I'd found in the UK, and early Def Jam etc and we had a ball. Every Tuesday Karl would send Gertie a courier pack with half the week's profits from Fez.

    We've now also got Mark Phillips now flying back from Sydney so we've got a huge part of NZ's formative club scene. I'm excited.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • crazy butnot mad dave,

    Wow this is some rewind stuff Zanzibar Six month club Brat club oh and Alfies the Melba Paul Murphy Darren Dempsey Jamie Crawford and myself oh and the Corner bar wow thanks Simon and Tom i was usually the one who was of his trolley yet i never got beatten up at Box orCeleb so thanks for putting up with me . true diplomats you guys bought the world to us when you could or nobody else would . my two moments i loved the most my fav dj in the world Andy Weatherall from Sabers of Paradise fame played the most well like evil but wonderful set after i knocked his drink into him i appoligized then realised it was Andy he smiled and asked if i liked the gig pure evil i said and he laughed what a humble man very unasuming i thought love his Papua new Guinia mix with fsol orsom gig dudes The other gig was Lenny D wow by the end of the night there was only myself and a beautiful asian woman still cracalackin on the floor twas a hardnite that one . Wish i could make it to the reunion might not let me in thou ha ha much respect to all you brothers and sisters in the house . PS there is a life with the Buddha and without drugs and alcohol love you all Crazy Dave.

    auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Damn. I was really hoping mad Dave was going to write something.
    ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    so it could have all started at RRR, not sure. we used to score some really good records there though. and cheap. especially rare 7" stuff. like the Stridulators

    I played 'The Inside Track' in my bFM Historical Society interview this week -- which has just aired (11am-12pm). And I forgot to (a) listen, and (b) tell anyone else it was on.

    Never mind -- it'll go up as a podcast, but without the music, sadly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And I forgot to (a) listen, and (b) tell anyone else it was on.

    Never mind --

    Some of us listened Russell. 11am Saturday is well worth it at the mo

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    but without the music, sadly.

    We don't need no stinkin' music. I'll just shut my eyes and imagine Bill Rollston.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I know it's blowing our own trumpet somewhat but I just had a copy of the Greg Churchill / Ron Salmon Box CD arrive in Bali and it's rather fucking good. The wash of nostalgia....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

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