Flying Nun Moments

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  • Russell Brown,

    Righto - keep posting by all means, but the results are in, and Manakura is the winner of the Flying Nun box set, and t-shirts go to Tim Darlington, Michael Ribas and Grant MacDougall. Details in today's Hard News post. Winners, click reply at the bottom of that post and tell me your details so I can get Warners to send out your goodies.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed. I'm sure the National Library will harvesting this one for digital posterity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Te Ata o Tu,

    With the prizes gone, I need cringe less at the approximations I venture here; Perhaps they might, however, jolt some more accurate memories from those at the centre of things than I can supply with my moments at the peripherary of the Flying Nun years. Moments not mentioned, but surely deserving:
    1. For sheer numbers of FN bands: Surely someone else noted the line-up at Canterbury Uni (perhaps other) Orientations in 1990-2(?). JPS (the small mercy of 'I like rain'), Bats, Clean(??) et. al. Anyone, anyone...
    2. The most stupendous gig: Chills, Submarine Bells Tour, Christchurch (what was the name of the hall on the corner of Papanui and Bealey Ave):packed, bristling, and wierdly nostalgic all at the same time.
    3. The wierdest gig: Bats at the Palladium (yes the Palladium) Night Nlub on a Sunday afternoon: after that, North by North truly does, still follow me around.
    4. The Renderers at a party in Little River, Canterbury, a bonfire, and their spooky meandering jam session settling on the darkness of the bush.

    Canterbury • Since Dec 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Te Ata:
    Paul Keane- bassplayer for Toy Love and The Bats- did a grand job organising orientation at Canterbury for many many years. In fact the orientation circuit has kept a few FNers in guitar strings for decades....
    "The Carlton"- another lost venue. The Palladium was truely wierd!
    And if it's the same one: that party at Little River was terrific! (At the old schoolhouse up the Puaha (spelling?) valley....) Ross Humphries (ex pin-group, billionaires, etc) laid down an amazing umu. And the jamming went on and on and on...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1571 posts Report Reply

  • t. edison,

    One of my favourite Flying Nun gigs was seeing Bailter Space play, back when they were called Nelsh Bailter Space... it was at Canterbury Uni in mid 80s but the line up was awesome - Alistair Galbraith, Hamish Kilgour playing drums, Caroline someone on keyboards & Peter Gutteridge (?) playing various things, but in one song I distinctly remember him playing a great big chunk of metal chain - the kind u tie ships up with... every bar he would take a huge swing & smash it into the stage... they sounded like music from the future.... & they were!

    wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • t. edison,

    I meant Alistair Parker not Galbraith... i sold him an old Framus hollowbody electric guitar sometime back then too, randomnly.... if you are reading this can I have it back please?

    wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • tillakaratne,

    ...Manakura is the winner of the Flying Nun box set...

    Good choice for overall winner. I really enjoyed that story and clearly it wasn't topped.

    I was actually going to suggest that Shayne Carter get the boxed set since he featured in many key FN moments posted here as well as having the most songs included in the boxed set (musicianwise anyway) - although I could be wrong (groups include: Bored Games, Double Happys, Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies, The Weeds, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    You never ask for a guitar back.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Agreed about the the winner. Manakura, I did a bit of time at Tomoana in the early 90s so kudos to you for your revenge....

    My uncle worked there too and my cousin went out with Don the drummer for a while, so I will tell her that story over coffee this afternoon.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 561 posts Report Reply

  • ange wither,

    Congrats to the winners, and thanks for running this thread, its been fun to read. Now I'm off to order a box set for our Bats, Clean, Verlaines obsessed household. Cheers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Strange coincidence? For years I've been meaning to get various reels of 16mm film onto tape- and in particular, an abortive attempt at 2 music clips which the band have never seen.... Hoping to get the footage ready over Xmas, I finally cadged a reasonable telecine machine and this afternoon started to record some of the old reels.
    No labelling to speak of- and so far, two or three of the films I most wanted are nowhere to be found. BUT- some distinct oddities. There's a Stuart Page reel that looks like a series of camera exercises: pan, tilt, etc- amusingly done, but most entertaing is the "model"- a youthful Ronnie van Hoot.
    The other odd gem- with no indication who shot it or what it was for: a reel of Bob Scott and Hamish Kilgour, trekking past railside factories, lighting a fire and having a boil-up. There's a magnetic sound-strip on the film, but I'm not set up for audio- maybe that'll be clue.
    Anyway- it did seem to rate as a "flying nun moment"?!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1571 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Anyway- it did seem to rate as a "flying nun moment"?!

    Yup, but much more so if it found its way onto YouTube ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Will do- but I'd like to try and get any audio off so it might have to wait til Monday :-(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1571 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    kudos to you for your revenge

    Thanks, it was small but so sweet. Getting a box set for it 10 years on almost makes all the shit I got in worth it all over again. I still listen to The Skeptics a lot. Wish I could tell the full story but I promised to never incriminate my inside accomplice. Maybe i'll give them the box set for xmas?

    Anyway thanks again PA system crew

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Ribas,

    Congrats, manakura, and thanks, Russell!

    I should also thanks my fellow t-shirt winner, for it was he who told me about this thread.

    He also enabled the Terminals/VDB moment that scored me a shirt, and many other moments, too.

    Goes something like this, since we're taking a trip down memory lane...

    I arrived in Auckland in 1992 not knowing a soul. I tracked down FN HQ, met Lesley, and was kindly given a brief interview with Doug Hood, who also managed the Chills. That got me down to Dunedin for the Chills gig the next day, as I relayed. There, I met a cool FN freak from Invercargill named Stu , who took me under his wing and took me shopping the next day, including a stop at not only the justly legendary Records Records, where I met the uber-cool Roi Colbert, but also Echo Records, where a friendly clerk named Mihi Harris kindly invited me to the after-party at Martin's parents' house after the second Chills gig that night--which I relayed above. Mihi and I saw quite a bit of each other over the next week, which resulted, among other things, in her and her roommate calling into a local radio show, telling their DJ friend about the American FN fanatic who'd come all the way to NZ just for the music, and they convinced me to go on air and chat with the guy. The next day, I was in a video store chatting to the proprietor (I'm not only American, but a born extrovert, if you couldn't tell by now), when a customer walked up to me and said, "You were on the radio last night, weren't you? I'm a huge fan of Flying Nun music too!" It was Grant McDougall, a supremely fine fellow who ALSO took me under his wing and took me drinking with his friends and showed me other cool places in Dunedin. We kept in touch after I went back to Japan, where I was living, and in 1994, I returned to NZ, and this time Grant (and Roi) really went the extra mile, introducing me to many NZ luminaries or setting up meetings so I could meet them myself.

    So thanks to Grant, from whom I received just yesterday a Christmas card with a little ride-along enclosed: another Christmas card from my ultimate FN hero, Graeme Downes! What a guy, that Grant. Thanks also to Stu, Mihi, Roi, and so many other cool New Zealanders who showed me so much kindness and hospitality. And now Russell's part of that wonderful lineage!

    Now, as I've been jabbering long enough, I'll leave you with a bizarre small-world story: in 1989, while at the University of Maryland, I became a huge FN fan and turned my best friend Rick onto a few of the bands while I was at it. A decade later, he sent me a picture of him with a group of friends of his in Chicago, where he had moved, and I mentioned that one of the girls was quite pretty. He said that that was a coincidence, because she was a girl from New Zealand who's father owned a record store. I replied that it was a pretty huge fucking coincidence, because not only did I know her father, I'd slept in her bed when her parents put me up for a week's time! AMAZINGLY small world, huh?

    Pasadena, CA, USA • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Ribas,

    I should hasten to add that she was in Chicago at college at the time!

    Pasadena, CA, USA • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Ribas,

    Just one more observation, before I shut up:

    I've read through this wonderful thread, and it's fantastic to read all these stories about people who experienced the early FN magic first-hand. And I find it amazin that I, an American who frankly didn't know shit about New Zealand when I was growing up (and to be honest, still doesn't know nearly as much, music aside, as I should), and you all, people raised on the other side of the world, could hear the same magical sounds and both fall in love with them in such a life-changing way.

    Music really does bring together, and it really is a common language--the cliches are true. Hearing all your stories, I feel like you people are almost friends or even family. Or perhaps more accurately, you're alternate versions of me. Meaning that, if by some twist of fate I'd been born in New Zealand instead of the U.S., I'd have EXACTLY the same stories to tell as you do.

    I guess rather than In Love with These Times, I've always felt In Love with THOSE Times, or In Love with YOUR Times, but rather than feeling like an outsider--I love soul music, but I have almost nothing in common with Steve Cropper, even though we were both born in the same state, not to mention William Bell--I in many ways feel like part of the FN seen, despite living on the other side of the globe. And that's a great feeling.

    Pasadena, CA, USA • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Ribas,

    Sorry, I spelled scene wrong. What a dork!

    Pasadena, CA, USA • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    This has been a blast reading this thread - so many real stories, of real people and experiences.

    Wucked!

    I don't have specific FN stories, being too young and a non-resident of NZ means I missed most of the 80's heyday

    I do recall seeing the music video for the Chills "Heavenly Pop Hit" on a TV chart show in Thailand and wondering "wtf" - then being more confused when the Thai announcer mentioned "Noo Zeeland" in the follow up...

    Chris Knox tales - my 2.

    Seeing him play at the Gathering 2000/1 - I think it got mentioned earlier - his rather sneering comment something along the lines of "What a bunch of suckers - paying $100 bucks to come and listen to some blokes play other peoples records!" Having only arrived on a plane from the UK 2 nights before and still groggy - it was a pleasure to have some small sanity in the midst of the techno madness.

    Chris Knox. Sane?

    Another gig of his in London - somewhere in Kentish Town, late 1998 I think, saw him berate the assembled Kiwi masses for turning up - in part because he'd travelled all that way to play to someone English. He also showed off the Swiss army knife that the European promoter had given him.... I think it fell out of the banana boxers on the final crowd surf - but after an appeal from stage it was found on the beer soaked floor and returned to the owner.

    Have left many gigs happy - but getting the bus home that night it was with that unique sense of being privileged, slightly pissed up, freezing cold, and having been part of something that reminded me of home.

    chur mr knox.

    chur

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 146 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Hickling,

    growing up in the 60s and 70s, there was this talk of cultural cringe and NZ being an outpost of England. Russell, Public Address, the Network, and most especially this long FN thread have just put that argument to bed forever. What a culture we have!
    So many legends from my upbringing in Ponsonby have been on this thread and so many memories brought back. Our cult album at school was AK79 - I've been looking to buy it again for the past 20 years (is it available Simon?). And I even saw mention of Otis Mace, Guitar Ace. Saw him at my first orientation in AK, 80, playing in the quad. Brilliant song about wanking saving you effort, money and time!
    Time to move home!
    Ian

    Barbados • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    re: The Gathering, and that whole 90s dance-party scene.

    was i the only person who thought, "wasn't disco the 70s?"

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So many legends from my upbringing in Ponsonby have been on this thread and so many memories brought back. Our cult album at school was AK79 - I've been looking to buy it again for the past 20 years (is it available Simon?).

    Yes - it was re-released on CD by FMR with additional tracks, compiled by Simon. I'm pretty sure it's still available.

    And I even saw mention of Otis Mace, Guitar Ace. Saw him at my first orientation in AK, 80, playing in the quad. Brilliant song about wanking saving you effort, money and time!

    Saw him out on the town on Saturday night - he came back about a year ago after several years in the UK. You can catch up with him at:

    http://www.otismace.com/

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    re: The Gathering, and that whole 90s dance-party scene. was i the only person who thought, "wasn't disco the 70s?"

    Che mate, it wasn't really disco. We'll have to get you out dancing sometime. You can dance, can't you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    growing up in the 60s and 70s, there was this talk of cultural cringe and NZ being an outpost of England. Russell, Public Address, the Network, and most especially this long FN thread have just put that argument to bed forever. What a culture we have!

    And, by way of comparison, here's the brochure copy that represents New Zealand music on Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand Online. It's been that way since Te Ara launched.

    Here's the image entry for Flying Nun:

    The Flying Nun label (1st of 3)
    Established in 1981, the recording company Flying Nun released a number of successful singles and albums during the 1980s. One of the most popular Flying Nun bands was The Chills, who from small beginnings in Dunedin went on to achieve success on the world stage. This is the cover for their 1985 album Kaleidoscope world.

    Sneaky Feelings (2nd of 3)
    The 1980s band Sneaky Feelings was one of the groups promoted on the Flying Nun label, gaining a strong following in New Zealand and Europe. Their single ‘Husband house’ came out in 1985.

    Straitjacket Fits (3rd of 3)
    Formed in Dunedin in 1986, Straitjacket Fits produced their debut EP Life in one chord on the Flying Nun label in 1987. It was warmly received, spending 10 weeks in the top ten.

    No, really, that's it. Each paragraph is associated with a pic of a record sleeve, but no one's bothered even to credit the original artists.

    It bugs me a lot that there's so much formal and informal knowledge available and no institutional vision for capturing it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i have been known to dance.

    i had to stop when there was a threat to call a constable.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It bugs me a lot that there's so much formal and informal knowledge available and no institutional vision for capturing it.

    on a similar slant, an approach to the government', via a couple of channels for an audio library of New Zealand master tapes and the like was soundly rebuffed by the present government two years ago.

    That these are disappearing at an alarming rate is of great concern to me. For example, virtually everything recorded for Phonogram / Polygram / Phillips / CBS prior to 1985 was tossed into Wellington harbour when the pressing plant was closed and they moved to AK. Similarly most of the independent label mastesr eventually disappear, or in the case of tape, disintegrate. I've transfered most of mine to digital but it still sits in a cupboard at my parents, although I have reels of 24 trick masters rescued from closing recording studios etc that have never been transfered.

    We are, slowing...actually not that slowly, losing this part of our heritage.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

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