Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Those were different times ...

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  • Peter Darlington,

    At the end of 1977 I moved, as a Black Sabbath, Led Zep & T-Rex loving 13 yr old, from deepest darkest South Westland to the sunny, sophisticated urban environs of Blenheim. Within 2 weeks of arriving there, Radio With Pictures played the Dylan Taite interview with Rotten and Vicious and that was it, my childhood ended and adolescence began during the space of 10 brain exploding minutes. Rock became worthless to me in moments and, if I'm honest, it never returned.

    It's hard for me to imagine such a cultural apocalypse for my kids. The influences are so wide and current now, they just pick and choose at will. We were so cut off from anything interesting, and we knew it, but could do nothing about it. It was thrilling beyond belief to see and hear something that we knew our parents would never be able to understand.

    Made getting a girlfriend fairly difficult, mind you...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Jamieson,

    ...and speak the way New Zealanders used to on TV – the metallic local twang glossed with the plum that always came out for the cameras.

    One of the incongruities with "Underbelly Land Of The Long Green Cloud" is the characters all speak with modern Kiwi accents, not what I remember accents sounding like in the 1970's at all.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alastair Jamieson,

    One of the incongruities with “Underbelly Land Of The Long Green Cloud” is the characters all speak with modern Kiwi accents, not what I remember accents sounding like in the 1970’s at all.

    Yes! So what influences changed the accent?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Karyn Hay :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker, in reply to Russell Brown,

    my parents were both born before 1930 in nz, one in the country and one in the city. all of my grandparents were born in nz in the 19th century. imho, their spoken language was the last generation before we were ingulfed by american pop culture. of course they had hollywood films and their speech was influenced by jazz and elvis and negro spiritual music but the real onslaught started in the 60s--tv and woodstock, etc. so in the 70s most adults still spoke old nuzild and the kids spoke a mixture with ever-increasing influence from the us/uk/aus. these days, whenever i go back to nz i'm quite stunned by how much the language and speaking styles have changed in just 20 or so years.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    There's no sense of the kind of mash-up you'll find on the new Tourettes album of punk rock hip hop

    To be fair, this was the generation that first listened to reggae in New Zealand and introduced it into the music being made - long before Marley came to NZ. And the kids were buying Funkadelic 45s as feverishly as they were buying punk - more so since you simply couldn't buy many punk records in NZ at the time and you had to work far harder to get the music that you needed to hear to be part of the tribe than you do now. They just didn't play them out.

    In a way though, this piece is depressingly tabloid with the set pieces (the girls in bed - Neil's idea not the girls' as he claims) and the interviews with the 'kids'. It captures little of the essence of the scene but, rather - in retrospect - played a part in trashing it by focusing on the ascendant nihilism that really was largely absent up to then. By June 78 many of the originators of the scene had largely moved on. We hated this documentary when it aired for that reason.

    I do, however, love the interview with Rooter - later the Terrorways - and most especially with Kerry Buchanan - later the best hip hop writer of his generation - perhaps ever - in NZ.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    they're engaged in our last real cultural fling with Anglophilia

    Oddly too, the primary New Zealand punk influences musically (not always visually but that too) up to the middle of 78 were not British but a mix of New York Punk and pre-punk and - crucially - glam. It was an art school movement.

    Until the last quarter of 77 probably less than 20 people in NZ owned a UK punk 45 or album. It simply wasn't released in NZ and there was no such thing as an imported record - or very very few. We got ours via Tim Blanks, a New Zealander who was Bryan Ferry's assistant, and my ex-girlfriend who was PA to the Melody Maker editor and sent the odd parcel of imagery and 45s.

    Until October 77 the only UK punk releases in NZ were the first Damned album and the widely disliked debut from The Stranglers - oh and Anarchy in the UK on EMI, now listed amongst the world's very rare records.. It was in the stores for two days before being withdrawn.

    The labels in NZ had however issued New York Dolls years before and the likes of Television, The Ramones, Patti Smith and Richard Hell which all likely influenced the sound of the early bands as much as any British acts. And Bowie/early Eno period Roxy.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Meant to click the Dobbyn track but got Marion Bates; very happy accident, great track, the lyrics remind of the Muttonbirds type narrative which I bloody love (and seems endemic to NZ).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I lived through this - I remember the summer I left high school - working on that first shit summer job before starting Uni - there was a (probably 3 minute) piece on the TV (black and white, we only had the one channel) news talking about this new 'punk' thing that was happening in London, piercing with safety pins, short hair, and they were all going to kill themselves before they were 21 (ha!) - seemed all so wrong at the time, it would never fly .... must have been '75?

    It probably didn't help that 'punk' was such an american word (at the time)

    Rather than disco we were all into the NZ hippie 70s thing and the hard, negative, noisy punk thing seemed so jarring in (our) context

    Everything in its cultural context of the time of course

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    oh and Anarchy in the UK on EMI, now listed amongst the world's very rare records.

    Ha, think that's the one I have.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    must have been '75?

    end of 76 or early 77 - Dylan Tait's piece and the first TV interview with the Sex Pistols anywhere as I recall

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    The labels in NZ had however issued New York Dolls years before and the likes of Television, The Ramones, Patti Smith and Richard Hell

    Even in the early 1980s it seemed like you couldn't go to a party in NZ without hearing Patti's Horses album at some point in the evening.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Ha, think that's the one I have.

    Worth a fortune if you do. I have one too which I bought from a 10c sale bin at Peaches Records on the corner of Queen and Victoria months later.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    I didn't hear Patti Smith til 1988 at uni... bit younger than others round here

    I do recall hearing that a Sex Pistols song was banned from NZ radio in the late '70s, guessing it would have been Anarchy, but I was fortunate to have an older brother either studying or working in radio at the time and he had the double LP...

    ETA. On reflection, I might have seen the double LP later?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Worth a fortune if you do. I have one too which I bought from a 10c sale bin at Peaches Records on the corner of Queen and Victoria months later.

    I must check it out. I bought the cheap local release when it came out but it got buggered over several years. Then I found a mint copy in a 2nd hand shop that was a different imprint and slightly different cover shading.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    hmm - thinking about it more it was end of '76 - it was definitely over the summer holidays though - because somehow it's embedded in my brain with that particular job - and I did work it those two years

    I also remember the punks railing more at orchestral rock rather than disco (maybe dealing to disco was more of an in-the-trenches-thing rather than the grand vision)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Does anyone know what it's like these days? Are The Kidz still as violently tribal? Or are friends eclectic?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I met an actor once who was doing some voice work for a Te Papa exhibit about something that happened in the middle of the 20 century, probably the War. She had to listen to a lot of tapes from the time to get the accent right, and described it as talking like your grandfather. I'd never really thought about the speed at which our accents had changed until that conversation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    (maybe dealing to disco was more of an in-the-trenches-thing rather than the grand vision)

    Indeed - there was a rough affinity with the tougher end of funk and soul, even when it mutated into disco. That turned when disco was usurped by the middle masses - Bee Gees and the like - and pulled away from its gay and urban roots.

    The disco/punk wars alluded to in that story were as much to do with the fact that you took your life in your hands walking to Zwines, past Babes disco, as any musical divide. The bloat of prog and stadium rock was the greater evil musically at the time assuming my distant memory is not tainted by time. The post-punk scene was also the first locally to really embrace early hip-hop.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rich Lock,

    are friends eclectic

    noice

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    The documentary on Punks seems to be a winner I thought when I heard the introduction… “… when the Sex Pistols vomited their way to punk stardom…”.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes! So what influences changed the accent?

    I suspect that Britain’s joining of the EEC was a contributing factor – the cargo cult of Mother England had suddenly turned out to be a mirage, and coincidentally Yankee & Aussie culture was on the ascendancy. It also happened to be the era of Fred Dagg, Pukemanu and later on, Close To Home. Wasn't the 1970s also the era of the O.E. too?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    At our school everyone agreed that disco was dead; the debate/shitfest was over whether it had been killed by punk or reggae. But this was 1979, by which time Dylan Taite was interviewing Bob Marley in NZ and the punk/reggae split had started to align along ethnic lines. The 6th and 7th form were still heavily into Led Zep though.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to st ephen,

    At our school everyone agreed that disco was dead; the debate/shitfest was over whether it had been killed by punk or reggae.

    I can honestly say that I was (or tried to be) a punk rocker butI still loved Donna Summer's 70s dance records.

    As Simon will be able to testify, the love affair continues ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I suspect that Britain's joining of the EEC was a contributing factor

    Close to Home, Pukemanu, Glide Time, Goodbye Pork Pie and, later, Shortland St I'd agree.

    the cargo cult of Mother England had suddenly turned out to be a mirage

    See, I don't think that's ever really evaporated - or as much as we would like to think it has. New Zealand still seems thoroughly obsessed with the home nation in a way that has long since passed in Australia.

    Returning infrequently as I do, it's something that hits you straight away.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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