Great to hear from you Babs!
I remember Murray coming at me after mail runs to rattle the envelopes and see who’d sent cash instead of cheques.
Oh, now you mention it, so do I ...
And I remember how sad I was a few times at Darby St to come in on a Monday and find you all there pretty much as I’d left you on Friday. You guys were troopers!
Ian and Murray pulled longer shifts than me, but I don't really recall it as very onerous. Perhaps I've suppressed the memories ...
Usually dependent on how much cash from the Mail Order books came out of the PO Box at the end of the day – Duran Duran fans kept us fed!
Which brings to mind the amazing letter from A Simon Le Bon Fan:
Your magazine is absolute crap. I will rip it up. don’t you worry! The only reason it’s free is because no one would buy it if it wasn’t. Talk about trash! Half of it is advertising and the rest is on useless Kiwi bands. New Zealand music is crap, except for Split Enz – the only good thing that ever came from NZ. The Mockers are absolute jerks and they couldn’t sing if they tried.
Now why can’t you print stories on Duran Duran or Big Country or even U2 9 Who the hell cares about Blam Blam Bloody Awful and friends? I want decent stories on decent music.
Speaking of decent, how do you get $9.50 for Duran Duran In Their Own Words ? It’s only worth $5.00. Where does the other $4 50 come from?
A Simon Le Bon Fan
There was quite the flood of indignant responses the following month.
Food is essential to any fringe creative endeavour that can’t afford to pay people properly. Nothing’s more bonding than a late night dash to a quality dodgy restaurant. You’ll do anything for people that feed you.
Testify. I put a ton of time into a big British Council event years ago, none of it paid. It certainly wasn't a case of lack of funds, just their usual practice. But good lord they fed and watered me well, so I was happy enough.
In my day it was Shahi Indian on Jervois Rd. Murray didn’t have to say what his order was he’d say “Hello, Murray here … 15 mins? OK, thanks.”
I now feel I need to know what his standing order was.
The big story missing from the early years’ oral history is the deadline story. MC would go into a mad frenzy for at least a week a) trying to finish the magazine,
The other part there, from a staff point of view, is that Murray felt that food was extremely important on deadline and we'd down tools and go eat. It was usually Wun Loy, up on Hobson St, or the Mekong on Wellesley St, on the other side of the block the RIU building was in. Crucial part of deadline.
This site can’t be reached paperspast.natlib.govt.nz’s server IP address could not be found.
Not just you.
It may be that their servers weren't quite ready for this.
Ah, I’ve just noticed that Murray’s side of the pompous-letter story is in Gareth’s Rip It Up oral history on the Spinoff:
At one point, I received this anonymous letter saying that Rip It Up used to be brave, but had just become an advertising rag for the music industry. It was absolutely beautifully written. Every typewriter was different, so you could identify who’d written a page by how it looked. So then a story appeared six months later and I thought – “I know that typewriter!” Russell was obviously a great writer so I wanted to contact him, especially since I was looking for a sub editor.
From memory the phrase I used in the letter was “paid advertisement for the music industry”. Murray told me later that he figured, “well, better that than an unpaid advertisement.”
Funny thing is, I’m pretty sure I copped that phrase from Roy Montgomery after a conversation one day at the EMI Shop. It’s wild how small things change the course of lives. Would I have got to Rip It Up if I hadn’t gone into the shop one day and had that conversation?
What an unexpected pleasure and awesome achievement by all concerned. Back when “cut and paste”, “waxer”, and “lightbox”, all had rather different meanings!
The smell of the wax comes back to me ...
Simon has a post on the National Library website with his memories of the time and an explanation of how all this has happened.
For everyone else's memories, allow me to recommend The Spinoff's excellent new oral history of Rip It Up.