Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: Roger writes the hits

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  • Russell Brown,

    Whoops - missed this. Fly My Pretties, recorded and filmed live at The Isaac Theatre Royal on February 12th, 2016. From the forthcoming Live at The Isaac Theatre Royal EP.

    Lead vocals by Bailey Wiley (the song is from her S.O.M.M. EP, backing vocals from Ria Hall, Anna Coddington and Mara TK. Impressive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I’m really enjoying ’In Love with these Times” too. It’s a bit stubbornly sideways about stuff – which is perfect. Self-deprecating one page; full-on record-shop-geek opinionated the next. It’s far better for not trying to be encyclopedic. It’s a personal memoir, and you get a real sense of the man: sometimes sharp, sometimes gawky, a little awkward but monumentally determined too. Only 1/3rd of the way through, and looking forward to getting back among the pages.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Self-deprecating one page; full-on record-shop-geek opinionated the next.

    Yeah, exactly. And the music-geek stuff is more striking as a consequence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just discovered that Sunday marks 40 years to the day since the Saints recorded '(I'm) Stranded'. Well alright!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Right in the middle of Sir Joh's iron rule of Queensland, no less. He probably would have seen them as "dangerous hooligans".

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5419 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    In Love With These Times is a perfect Flying Nun artefact – the publishers managed to misspell Straitjacket Fits on the back cover blurb (Muppets!) so there is an inserted erratum (and apology) sheet in each book – I chuckled loudly at that.

    “Shared a caravan at Sweetwaters that time.”

    I was in that caravan too, and the cricket game, but I guess long lists of names get a tad boring – he captured the zeitgeist and remembers a hell of a lot more than I do. Surprised the New Year at New Plymouth didn’t get a look in – but I don’t know if anyone really remembers that weekend…
    8 - )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    n Love With These Times is a perfect Flying Nun artefact – the publishers managed to misspell Straitjacket Fits on the back cover blurb (Muppets!) so there is an inserted erratum (and apology) sheet in each book – I chuckled loudly at that.

    The apology makes a handy bookmark though.

    I was in that caravan too, and the cricket game,

    The whole thing was more than a little crazed, but I have very fond memories.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Right in the middle of Sir Joh’s iron rule of Queensland, no less. He probably would have seen them as “dangerous hooligans”.

    Sir Job's Brisbane is inseparable from any cultural understanding of the Saints. This documentary is fascinating:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Beknighted?

    Sir Job’s Brisbane is inseparable from any cultural understanding of the Saints.

    Indeed, Job is virtually a saint himself (at least an Abrahamic prophet), and would have undoubtedly suffered (and survived) through Joh, the Devil from Dannevirke's crushing rule...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    With a major hat tip to Andrew Long on Twitter, Post-Punk.com just posted the video for Tomorrow Came Today by The Cakekitchen.

    Happy Saturday!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Great doco – watched it last night right through without quite meaning to. And there’s a definite parallel with Muldoon here. Mostly the FN bands didn’t write overtly political songs. But there was a deep shared sense of being anti-Muldoon – him personally, his government, and the mind-set it stood for. Absolutely something to rebel against. 10%+ unemployment, job creation schemes, regulations all over the place, police we didn’t trust.
    It feels a tiny bit ironic now. Much of the music was effectively subsidised by the (relatively) generous and easy dole (or a job scheme that paid a union negotiated wage.) Yes, it was hard to import music, guitars, there were taxes and import controls – but also things like Jansen amps and guitars made right here.
    In retrospect it was a time of many things colliding – painfully but also throwing off a great mass of sparks.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It was going to be the Flying Nun book, the definitive history of the label and its music. That would have been madness. People at the centre of cultural history are rarely the right people to thoroughly document it as history. Apart from anything else, they’re quite rightly not all that invested in the detail. They were there, man.

    Well, exactly – a good memoir and a good work of cultural history/commentary are two very different beasts. The cultural historian is valuable precisely because they they can take a step back and fit the pieces together (as much as that’s ever possible) then put it in a context.

    And I don't know about you, but the memoirs I enjoy most (and find most insightful) are the ones that are perfectly upfront that they're never going to be the whole story. That's not how memory works.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    It feels a tiny bit ironic now. Much of the music was effectively subsidised by the (relatively) generous and easy dole (or a job scheme that paid a union negotiated wage.)

    Those Muldoon-era PEP schemes paid participants a union-backed minimum wage, though the only one I recall that directly fostered music was Ivan Zagni's Big Sideways project, which never seemed to quite engage with the zeitgeist. Were there others outside of Auckland?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Not that I know of - though I seem to remember some art projects. PEP schemes were likely to involve some other odd project. (I worked on a social survey for the UC social work unit, and a lands and survey job taking levels between Amberley and the Lewis Pass - based on a passing Chinese theory about earthquake prediction according to the surveyors. When we'd finished that we worked on replacing trig stations up around Amuri. Both in their way interesting jobs.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    One of the few cultural legacies of PEP schemes is one of Owen Marshall's more satisfyingly quirky short stories, The Frozen Continents, about a differently abled character encountered on a work scheme that involved dismantling an Antarctic exhibit at a Dunedin museum.

    On his 1983 visit to Auckland David Bowie was supposed to have made a surprise visit to Ivan Zagni's music PEP scheme. Unfortunately they were all at the pub, and were supposedly mightily disappointed once they discovered what they'd missed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott, in reply to JacksonP,

    With a major hat tip to Andrew Long on Twitter, Post-Punk.com just posted the video for Tomorrow Came Today by The Cakekitchen.

    this sent me on a wee Cake Kitchen on youtube last night- a pleasant way to spend an evening.

    I also recently bought the recently released Winter of Discontent series of 4 EP's. As always, great stuff from Mr Jefferies.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    PEP schemes

    Ferrymead had its own version of art.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sigh. Gary Steel has written an updated (and toned-down) version of his perennial complaint about Flying Nun as a review of Roger's book. See: Flying Nun: In love with the sound of their own voice, more like

    I don't really want to take it apart in detail, because I like Gary and the last time I did that it ended up in a silly feud. But for an essay that professes to dispel "myths", it takes quite a few liberties with fact.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Steel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Don't worry Russell, these days "Mellow" is my middle name. Or is that "Merlot". Come to that, I prefer "Pinot". But anyway, I like you too.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gary Steel,

    That article sounds a tad bitter, Gary. Love some of the other musicians you mention, but how did your own record company go?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    WTF - why would Gary Steel expect a book about Roger's recollections of Flying Nun to be about stuff that wasn't?
    Still he got to mention wellington's jewel in the crown, Jayrem - surprised the Wellington (Four Stars) compilation record (Sausage Records) never got a (deserved) plug, or did it, my eyes had glazed over at the unrelenting snark before the grudging finish - what a way to view the world...
    Reminds me a bit of his Toy Love non-review back in 'the day', which was largely about what a bad night he was having - too much Charles Shaar Murray as an impressionable yoof, I fear...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Reminds me a bit of his Toy Love non-review back in 'the day', which was largely about what a bad night he was having -

    The one of a Maidment gig, where Chris was described as a Reginald Perrin lookalike? Memorable mostly because Toy Love reviews were rather thin on the ground back then.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    The one of a Maidment gig...?

    I think it was at The Terminus, in Wellington (and for The Dominion maybe)...
    http://www.audioculture.co.nz/scenes/wellington-alternative-music-venues-1978-82
    I know it was crowded - a big part of Mr Steel's gripe as I recall, there may have even been a toothache involved... heck it might've even been the gig that John Dix had his car stolen from outside of (with all the Stranded in Paradise photos and notes in) - my recollection of the period is imprecise...
    Though I'm pretty sure that Gary was happy to take Flying Nun ads for his In Touch magazine - Mr Double might recall better than me (morning Ken!) as my copies are buried in a banana box deep in the Silverfish Ranch (aka a lock up on the swampy outskirts of Chchch)...
    The past eh?
    You're damned if ya go there and damned if ya don't...
    Perhaps best to leave bygones be 'by gums' or somesuch.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The past eh?
    You're damned if ya go there and damned if ya don't...

    Perhaps the dearth of decent Toy Love reviews back in the day illustrates how little such things really mattered to a band's career. One I do recall was the Wellington 'reviewer' who lifted whole chunks from the NME, simply replacing Mekons with Toy Love. Being a sensitive artist he used his influence at the record store where he worked to have Rip It Up banned from the shop after the magazine outed him.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Hopefully now that Simon Grigg has control of the Rip It Up archive someday all these tales will be in a searchable database much like the wonderful Papers Past
    Then we can all really have some fun...
    Mother of 3, Grey Lynn

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

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