Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: Radio With Pictures – communiques from the outside world

14 Responses

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and some more African goodness. The first ep of Rita Ray’s BBC 4 doco Africa: A Journey into Music is up on YouTube:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Jeez... that post brings back lots of fond Radio with Pix memories flooding back, Russell. It was a Sunday night institution. Get together with a group of friends, fire up the bong and settle back while Barry Jenkin brought us some pretty damn cool kiwi music.

    The show seemed to exist in spite of TVNZ as opposed to having any blessing from the powers that be. When a group of us decided to make the first videos for The Enemy we couldn't persuade TVNZ management to loan us the gear, so we (ahem) just borrowed it one Sunday afternoon... a couple of film cameras plus the sound and lighting gear. And we made some damn fine videos which we gave to RWP free of charge.

    No permission, no budget, just a love of music and a healthy dose of anarchy. Those were the daze.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1438 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double,

    The thing that impressed me most about Barry Jenkin other than his is irreproachable dude-ness was that he was a man of strong opinions, not all of them entirely sane. There's a transgressive thrill about the ability to say what you REALLY think on national television without breaking character. We did get to see a lot more Little Feat than was strictly necessary but I remember him hyperventilating about this clip of David Johansen doing "Frenchette" in a small club somewhere and my God it was epic. Who knows where it is now. I'd pay money to see that again.

    I hope Kidjo's "Remain in Light" is as good in reality as it is in my head. I'd better listen on the weekend.

    Speaking of strong opinions, I'm boosting the new Tracey Thorn as the best thing she's ever done. It's got the toughness and tempos required and it's a love letter to analog synthesis.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ken Double,

    this clip of David Johansen doing “Frenchette” in a small club somewhere and my God it was epic. Who knows where it is now. I’d pay money to see that again.

    Not this one from 1980?
    A German TV show though – looks club like:

    The full show (27min) runs on after this clip.

    Matt Damon could soooo play David Johansen in the biopic…
    Bourne to Rock!

    <edit> Do you need my bank acct details?
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Alfie,

    The show seemed to exist in spite of TVNZ as opposed to having any blessing from the powers that be. When a group of us decided to make the first videos for The Enemy we couldn't persuade TVNZ management to loan us the gear, so we (ahem) just borrowed it one Sunday afternoon... a couple of film cameras plus the sound and lighting gear. And we made some damn fine videos which we gave to RWP free of charge.

    No permission, no budget, just a love of music and a healthy dose of anarchy. Those were the daze.

    And in spite of the budgetary constraints, these music videos could even approach the production standards of British ones.

    But, especially after the show got a face – radio DJ Barry "Dr Rock" Jenkin – those clips weren't just advertisements for records, they were communiques from the outside world

    In some ways RWP was probably the closest thing to a YouTube of its day. And especially back when NZ was still a metropolis trying to break out of a farm shed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    That could almost be it. I just found that myself and it seems it was posted only two months ago. Syl playing piano and all! I see Johansen anticipated the Icelandic football team by 35 years too. God bless German television is all I can say.

    The cheque's in the post.....

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ken Double,

    Attachment

    Trans Sylvainsylvainia?

    The cheque’s in the post…..

    or - with a little Romanian gerrymandering - the post's in the Czech!

    God bless German television is all I can say.

    I loved Johansen's Temptations cover, and the Roxy Music show is good too

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Cassandra,

    Angélique Kidjo’s Remain in Light is a really rich listen. I had it in high rotate for quite a while and heard more with each play.

    Since May 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Obviously a generational thing. I was a regular viewer of C'mon despite its cringeworthy covers format. Pete Sinclair knew how to pace a show and his dynamism & flair made up for the marionette-like performances of the local bands & singers. Later we got the Grunt Machine, some dork of a dj called Paul Holmes pretending to know something about rock music, and RWP seemed an unwatchable outlet for music industry wannabes faking it continuously for an incredible 15 years.

    As the old saying goes, no accounting for taste. So much wonderful new music being made during those years that was never promoted by either commercial radio or tv - cognoscenti shared it via word of mouth despite the media bias.

    I made a brief contribution to the local music scene, which is detectable if you run `squeeze' in the Audioculture search module, and check out Garth Cartwright's review at the top of the list. "I think it existed for a year from mid-1979 to mid-1980." Correct. "Who set it up and ran it? No idea." The editor provides that info, courtesy of liaison with my second wife Annie in 2013: scan down to the picture of us at the bottom of the page. The page features a bunch of posters from her archive, but I've also got some somewhere that I was too busy to dig out at the time. Same problem nowadays & I may never get around to telling the full story but here's a brief sketch...

    Annie had a stall at Cook Street Market, top floor opposite (owners) Brian & Ronnie’s near the front ramp, and there we got friendly with Ray Hart-Smith. I remember Ray telling us the Island of Real couldn't fit all the people who tried to get in each weekend, so there was room in the market for competition. Ray was a few years older than me - seemed to get his style from the beat hipster era, so he was the entrepreneur. To me the enterprise was just an incidental creative venture. Annie was the enthusiast, so I credit her & Ray for making the business happen.

    Calling it The Squeeze was my idea (not sure why the young clientele preferred to drop the definite article). Ray's wife Lynette also helped run the venue, as did our young extremely attractive friend Angie who was also a market regular. So the basic plan was to capture half the trendies from Charlie Gray and when Ray told us several months after we launched that nobody was going to the Island of Real any more I was surprised: must've worked better than expected. Problem was there weren't enough new-wave bands around to keep the trendies coming so we had to resort to featuring punk bands as well.

    That meant attracting the crowd from Zwines, who were composed of two subcultures, the skinheads & the boot-boys, both prone to violence. I had decided to become non-violent early in 1964 (post-adolescence) and Ray & I were doing the door because our profit was too small to employ security. Bit of a challenge, eh?

    As it turned out, the worst that happened was when I told a bunch of them that they couldn't come in due to over-crowding, and one karate-kicked me in the chest. My hand came up in quick reflex just before impact & fingers got crunched. A year later I noticed the little finger was a bit crooked so maybe it broke. Anyway, could be they noticed that I wasn't as impressed as they expected, or maybe I said the right thing to defuse the situation, because they drifted off.

    Think we had Toy Love play twice and I saw Chris Knox run the sharp edge of a broken bottle down his arm while the band played, saw the blood start running in several trickles from the cut. Realised, okay, this guy's as far out as me in his own way, give him credit for authenticity. Years later in the nineties his daughter & my daughter became friends due to living close by in Grey Lynn & as a result Annie got quite friendly with Chris Knox. She's been friendly with Murray Cammick since the club days too.

    Annie reckons I did the wall-painting op-art backdrop of that photo. I have no memory of that but I did the large flood-lit sign we had above the front door which I both designed and painted & was real proud of: black & white psychedelic patterned lettering of The Squeeze on a vivid scarlet background. Unfortunately that was a chattel when we sold the business so I couldn't souvenir it. Mainstreet had started by then & taken too many trendies away; time to bail out.

    But yeah, the idea of a music club was to provide an unlicensed venue for young folk, and was the only legal way. The entry fee was called the membership fee, and nobody complained about having to become a member again each attendance! Ray recruited the bands. The MeeMees were still at school when we gave them their city launch, as Garth mentions: I remember talking to them with Ray to negotiate that - quite gratifying when they went to number one on the charts about a year later! Probably a couple of dozen bands played our place all up. The only one I genuinely liked (due to resonating with their melodies) was Flight X-7, but I've always been hypercritical & the cultural generation gap was too vast for me at the time.

    Sometimes the cops would come down the stairs, around half a dozen of them, stand around the perimeter of the dance floor, pretending they could out-cool both band & audience, who reciprocated by pretending they weren't actually there. Sometimes the harbour would flow into our drains. You could actually look & see it happening: they were around the perimeter of the basement where the walls met the floor! A reminder that Fanshawe St & adjacent Victoria Park are on land dredged up a century or more earlier. That building hasn’t subsided though, you can still see it, south side, around 6/7 storeys high, think there’s a service station next door...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I made a brief contribution to the local music scene, which is detectable if you run `squeeze' in the Audioculture search module

    Onya.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I remember Ray telling us the Island of Real couldn't fit all the people who tried to get in each weekend...

    There was a dodgy theory that the Island was popular with students because it had carpet on the floor like at Mum & Dad's.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Think we had Toy Love play twice...

    Yeah verily!
    1; Sunday Sept 16, 1979 (with The Clean)
    2: Thursday Nov 8, 1979 (with Frank Zerrox & the Duplicators and the Terroways)

    (thanks to Alec Bathgate's comprehensive list of all gigs)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    having carpet on the dance floor was kinda spec!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Appreciate the feedback folks. Hey, I remembered buying the first vinyl album of the Members, Chelsea Nightclub, due to rave reviews & playing it during the breaks between live sets. It grew on me enough that I actually paid to go & see them when they came & played Mainstreet. Parked myself safely on the balcony as pogoing fools in the maelstrom down below spat at the band.

    There's four tracks on that made it into my carefully-selected best songs of all time (4,000 or so - nowadays a library of electronic files). I still sporadically make compilation CDs, and listening to Soho a Go-Go & Sound of the Suburbs recently found myself again rating their guitar sounds as right up there with the all-time very best (John Cipollina, Roy Buchanan, Carlos Santana, Edge). Excellent blend of classic lead & rhythm lines like Keith Richard, but even more definitive & elegant. Ok, there were two of them, but their rapport in synch makes the synthesis quite stunning. Punk bands doing thrash made me tune out, but the superb artistry of those guys was something else entirely.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

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