Xpressway: Records of a Dunedin independent record label (1988-1993). Hocken Archives, 94-156.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

To celebrate Music Month in 2017, here’s a brief look at a collection of papers relating to a local Dunedin label.

Post by Amanda Mills, Hocken Liaison Librarian, Curator Music and AV

Various Xpressway tapes. Hocken Music and AV collections

Xpressway Records began life as a cassette-only label in late 1987/early 1988, run out of Bruce Russell‘s home in Port Chalmers. Russell – archivist, writer, musician (in A Handful of Dust, and The Dead C) – began Xpressway Records with help from fellow musicians Peter Gutteridge, Alastair Galbraith and Peter Jefferies following Flying Nun’s 50% acquired by Mushroom Records. Russell worked for Flying Nun in their Christchurch offices for a time in the 1980s, and saw the label was moving away from its original ideals with the merger. The acquisition by a major label meant attention was focused on more commercial Flying Nun acts, and many were let go from the label.

Russell was disillusioned by these decisions, and when artists like Jefferies and Galbraith were released from their Flying Nun contracts, he decided to in his words “show [Flying Nun] a thing or two,” as their music was just as valuable as the label’s more commercial counterparts. To give these artists and their music a home, he began Xpressway Records. In Russell’s opinion, “we should make the music available to those people that want to hear it, and if those people are a scattering of people all over the world in tiny niches within other national markets … fine… it’s just what we’ve got to do” (Russell, 2000).

Various official Xpressway releases. Hocken Music and AV collections

Xpressway started as a cassette-only record label, but expanded to include vinyl and CD releases. Overall, there were over 20 Xpressway releases, with other recordings licensed from the label. Artists on the label included

  • Peter Jefferies
  • Sferic Experiment
  • The Terminals
  • Alastair Galbraith
  • Victor Dimisich Band
  • Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos
  • Peter Gutteridge

As well as these artists with material licensed from Xpressway to other labels

  • DoubleHappys
  • Sandra Bell

Mock-up of the back cover of the Terminals’ single Do the Void. Xpressway: Records of a Dunedin independent record label (1988-1993). Hocken Archives, 94-156

In 1993, Russell wrapped up the label, and, in 1994, gave Hocken the Xpressway archives. Russell also included other items in the donation: over 100 posters of local artists, and over 50 cassettes of live recordings of acts associated (mostly) with Flying Nun or Xpressway.

Xpressway Pile-Up press release and cassette cover. Xpressway: Records of a Dunedin independent record label (1988-1993). Hocken Archives, 94-156

The archival papers are rich in content, and include

  • Media files, drafts and correspondence
  • Newsletters
  • Financial records including receipt books and IRD records
  • Artist release files and profiles
  • Xpressway album release files
  • Correspondence with artists, other record labels and distributors
  • Mail order correspondence, both national and international

Mail-order Correspondence. Xpressway: Records of a Dunedin independent record label (1988-1993). Hocken Archives, 94-156

Correspondence between Russell and musicians reveals the frustrations, irritants, and (in some cases) jealousies between different parties. While this is in the guise of official correspondence between artist and the label, it is often personal in nature reflecting the close knit nature of the Xpressway music community. It is also interesting to note that hand-written, typed, or faxed messages are on any blank surface: the backs of photographs, envelopes, flyers, aerograms (remember those?), newsletters from Russell’s’ place of employment – it is all used.

Correspondence between Flying Nun and Xpressway Records. Xpressway: Records of a Dunedin independent record label (1988-1993). Hocken Archives, 94-156

Much interesting material is contained in the folder relating to Flying Nun, with business correspondence again revealing the frustrations and everyday realities of supply and distribution between labels, especially those relating to finances. The letters and faxes between Russell and Flying Nun staff running the label day-to-day in Auckland are friendly and informal; they relate personal and industry stories and reveal common frustrations with business, distribution, and (quite often), the musicians. Other folders also contain interesting – and often hilarious – exchanges between the label and correspondent.

‘Look Blue Go Purple + W.S.S.O.E.S’ poster. Hocken Posters collection.

Along with the papers are the posters and cassettes that Russell donated. The posters relate to gigs and album releases, and highlight local bands and artists (many on or associated with Xpressway), and many are hard to find. The tapes capture mostly live performances and some radio shows by local artists, but also artists from around New Zealand, in many different venues around the country. Some are recording sessions, or demos of material that may not have been released, and we are aware that these are possibly the master tapes for a number of recordings.

Various Xpressway tapes. Hocken Music and AV collections

Complementing the Xpressway papers, the Hocken also holds copies of officially released music from Xpressway:

  • Compilations Xpressway Pileup, Killing Capitalism with Kindness, and Making Loser’s Happy
  • Peter Gutteridge’s Pure
  • Peter Jeffries’ Last Great Challenge in a Dull World,
  • Plagal Grind’s self-titled EP,
  • Albums and singles by Alastair Galbraith

Hocken has also recently acquired the Xway Vision VHS video of Xpressway (and associated labels) musicians performing in 1991.

The Xpressway papers and recordings are used by students and other researchers, with material frequently published on the artists, the label, and the wider scene. The popularity of the label, and the music that emerged from it will only increase the intrinsic value of this collection. The Xpressway papers (and associated recordings) are a fascinating look at how an independent record label is run in a small music community, where artists often performed in each other’s bands, or on each other’s recordings.

References:

Williams, M. (2000). Magic Kiwis – Bruce Russell. Perfect Sound Forever. March. Retrieved from http://www.furious.com/perfect/deadc.html

 

Musos, anarchists, poets, feminists, artists and activists: a look at the Hocken zines collection

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post by Emma Scott, Library Assistant – Periodicals

Tucked away within our publications collection are approximately 149 zines spanning from the 1970s to the present day. For those of you who haven’t come across a zine before, zines are self published publications that are on a variety of different topics. Many of the zines in our collection were created by cutting and pasting text, images, photographs and drawings and sticking them on master sheets which are then photocopied and put together as a zine. Creating a zine is a labour of love as they take a substantial amount of time and effort to produce and the funds involved in the making of a zine are seldom recuperated.

Caveat Emptor An Anarchist Fanzine issue 2 (1998) pages 5-6

Caveat Emptor An Anarchist Fanzine issue 2 (1998) pages 5-6

Looking through the list of zines in our collection it is surprising to discover just how varied zines can be. The zines most people are familiar with are the punk rock and rock music zines. While we do have plenty of those, we also have zines on many other subjects including: feminism, government resistance, art, death, horror tales, poetry, science fiction poetry, erotic poetry, sexual harassment of women, anarchism, human rights, paper dolls, New Zealand literature, colonisation and politics just to name a few. Some zines cover multiple topics as they have many contributors.

PMt issue 2 ([1986]) cover

PMt issue 2 ([1986]) cover

Zines can be difficult to catalogue as they are often missing title and date information. Zines also differ greatly in size and format, becoming an artwork in themselves. Fortunately we are able to call upon the services of the University of Otago Library Bindery who can create customised acid free enclosures for these items.

A zine a day as winter goes away covers of 2011 July 3, 7, 10 and 20

A zine a day as winter goes away covers of 2011 July 3, 7, 10 and 20

With May being New Zealand Music Month, it is worth bringing attention to an excellent zine in our collection called Ha Ha Ha: from the city that offers nothing. Ha Ha Ha is a Hamilton music zine that started in 1983, it isn’t focused entirely on Hamilton music, it includes information about bands from all over New Zealand. Issue no.5  features an interview with Bruce Russell from the Dunedin Expressway label called “Expressway to your skull” and includes reviews of Vehicle – The Clean, Sour – S.P.U.D. and Bunny liver – Sferic Experiment all of which we hold in our music collection. If you are a punk fan issue 4 might interest you with an article on New Zealand punk from 1977 – 1982 which includes a list of albums and singles worth listening to and a brief description of each band mentioned.

Ha Ha Ha issue no.5 cover

Ha Ha Ha issue no.5 cover

Another New Zealand zine of particular interest is : Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People by Bryce Galloway.  Issue no.15,  The Fear of Fatherhood Issue is an excellent read as Bryce recounts his experience of the ante-natal classes that he is attending with his “de-facto wife”. He prepares his readers for the change of tone: “If you’re a regular visitor to Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, you will have noticed by now, the consolidation of an autobiographical style. So, babies. This is the big thing in my life at present, so I gotta go there, as unhip as that makes me”. His writing is honest and refreshing as he describes a class where the midwife is describing the birthing process: “Images less sterile than statistical data are crowding my head, I fold my arms, I cross my legs. I think about fainting and I’m not sure whether it is because I believe I’m prone, or because I truly am being overcome by these sideways images of birthing”.

Incredibly hot sex with hideous people no.15 (2003 Spring) cover

Incredibly hot sex with hideous people no.15 (2003 Spring) cover

By being self published, zines provide us with uncensored and often quite personal insights into peoples experiences, events, and lifestyles. All of us have something that we are interested in and or are passionate about, but not all of us go to the effort of creating our own publication. We hope that zines continue to be created as they provide us with invaluable information about the history and culture of this country.

If you are interested in finding out more about New Zealand zines, it is well worth checking out an excellent blog called the New Zealand Zine Review:  http://www.newzealandzinereview.org.nz/. Some of the zines featured in the blog are held in our collection if you would like to have a look at them in the flesh.

Do you create a zine yourself, or perhaps you have a zine you would like to donate? In which case we would love to hear from you as we are always interested in expanding our collection of zines. You can send us an email at serials.hocken@otago.ac.nz or phone us on 03 479 4372.

References:

AudioCulture – the noisy library of NZ music. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from http://www.audioculture.co.nz/

Caveat Emptor: An Anarchist Fanzine, (2), 5-6. (1988)

Galloway, B. (2003). Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, (15), 1-18.

Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People – Bryce Galloway | Culture | Critic.co.nz. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from http://www.critic.co.nz/culture/article/1501/incredibly-hot-sex-with-hideous-people—bryce-gal

New Zealand Zine Review. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from http://www.newzealandzinereview.org.nz/

PMt, (2), 1-23. (1986?).

  1. (2011). ‘a Zine a Day as Winter Goes Away’

S, A. (n.d.). Ha Ha Ha: From the City That Offers Nothing, (4), 8-19.

S, A. (n.d.). Ha Ha Ha: From the City That Offers Nothing, (5), 9-12.

Zine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zine

Zines. (n.d.). Retrieved May 03, 2016, from http://www.wcl.govt.nz/popular/zines.html

 

Unforgettable. In every way.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and Audio Visual

In Hocken’s 78rpm disc collection there is an anomaly: over 100 American pop standards by US artists. For a collection of New Zealand material, this is a significant exception to our collection development policy, and more than just an example of a popular genre. There is little to explain why these discs are in the music collection, but our records state they were donated by Mr Grant Fleury in the late 1990s, and were (according to staff recollection) part of an estate collection.

So, why would a collection of New Zealand material include these items? One potential reason for keeping these discs, is that they are all NZ pressings of international labels, including Columbia Records, Decca Records, His Masters Voice, and Capitol Records. However, there are between 50 and 100 of these recordings, so this collection is more than just an example of local label pressings. Some of the titles are jazz, pop, and rock’n’roll classics that shaped popular music in the 20th Century, coming at the end of the 78rpm era. Titles include:

Ella Fitzgerald: Happy Talk. A track from the very popular musical “South Pacific”, Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song with Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra in 1950, and this led to them recording an album soon after.

photo 2 78

Fats Domino, Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino: Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That a Shame. Both are significant rock ‘n’ roll classics – Domino’s 1956 recording of Blueberry Hill became the standard version of the song, while his 1955 recording of Ain’t That a Shame gained US  fame after being re-recorded by Pat Boone. However, Domino’s version became more popular.

photo 1 78

Fats Domino, Ain’t That A Shame

Nat King Cole: Unforgettable b/w Mona Lisa. Unforgettable was recorded in 1951, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and with Riddle’s arrangement. Cole remade it in 1956, and it was remade again  in the 1990s as a beyond-the-grave duet with his daughter Natalie. It is backed with an equally popular song, Mona Lisa, which won the 1950 Academy Award for best original song from the film “Captain Carey.”

photo 3 78

Nat King Cole, Mona Lisa

Having these recordings in the collection presents a conundrum – are they a one off exception to the collection development policy of collecting material by New Zealand artists? Or, was there a valid reason for adding international music into the 78rpm disc collection, when there was no apparent local link in terms of composer, or performer?  They are an interesting addition to the collections of early popular music, and their influence is felt widely throughout local New Zealand music of the same time.

Vogue New Zealand: A Decade of Home-Grown Glamour

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

Blog post prepared by Kate Hyland, Library Assistant

The Hocken’s periodicals collection is home to a range of fashion-related material. Perhaps one of the most glamorous titles we hold is Vogue New Zealand – our nation’s very own edition of the famous title published from 1957 to 1968. Though New Zealand’s Vogue was short-lived, the magazine is a valuable resource for today’s readers: the preserved copies represent an important decade in New Zealand’s fashion history.

Vogue New Zealand began as an offshoot for British Vogue. Edited from the U.K., the early issues spoke of patriotism for England: New Zealand readers were encouraged to sew with British materials, and New Zealand garments were flown out of the country to be photographed in ‘proper’ English settings. Early features were mostly international and, besides advertising, there was little to indicate that the publication was intended for an antipodean audience. One exception is found in the magazine’s fashion advice, where suggestions were made about where Vogue clothing could be worn in New Zealand. The following extract details appropriate places to sport “cotton sailcloth” items by Voyageur:

 “Bottom right: More white, per leg-pocket shorts and tying shirt, brighter beneath a red beach blazer. Three sun-active parts, for Queenstown or perhaps Waitemata Harbour this summer…” (1959:Summer, page 57).

Image 12

Vogue New Zealand cover, 1959 : Summer, and “Sun Dash” Vogageur items pictured bottom right, (1959 : Summer, page 57).

The magazine’s British accent did not silence its developing New Zealand voice however. By 1960, production of the magazine had moved from England to Australia with editor Sheila Scotter appointed to oversee Vogue New Zealand and Vogue Australia. These developments – including the coming of local editorial talent such as Michal McKay – saw the magazine’s distinctive New Zealand style begin to flourish. New Zealand photographers, fashionable New Zealand homes, elegant New Zealand women and, of course, New Zealand designers were brought to the fore. In true Kiwi style, country living and woollen garments became a heavy focus for the magazine.

Image 13

“Evening Looks on Elegant New Zealanders”. v.10 : no 2 (1966 : Winter, page 40) and “Wool Elegance” – advertisement for the New Zealand Wool Board. v.12 : no.2 (1968 : Winter, page 31).

Vogue New Zealand positioned our nation as one in-touch with global trends and capable of producing high fashion garments. New Zealand designers, like Bruce Papos, or El Jay, were celebrated by the publication, inspiring confidence in local design. The local industry also benefitted from the magazine’s showcasing of the latest in European fashion. For example, the repeated feature “What goes on in other Vogues” informed readers of the styles trending in global fashion centres such as Paris or Italy. In another feature, readers were encouraged to write to the magazine and request Vogue sewing patterns. Access to these designs was not exclusive; the professional and the non-professional alike had the means to create some of the most fashionable clothes of the era.

Image 14

Bruce Papos advertisement (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 5). Patterns for these garments were available on request. v.11 : no.3 (1967 : Summer, page 83). “What goes on in other Vogues: Italy”. v.11 : no.2 (1967 : Winter, page 83).

Trending fashions were not stagnant during the magazine’s run, of course. Fashion, as we know, is subject to change, and the magazine documents some of the era’s major changes in style. For example, looks from the late fifties vary greatly to those of the sixties. Scanning the issues today, we can see that a traditional and lady-like aesthetic prevails in the fifties; however a youthful and rebellious style emerges in the sixties. This step away from tradition is echoed in Vogue New Zealand’s “Breakaways” feature from 1966, which reads:

“Who are the Breakaways? They are the girls who bolted the pack: stepped out of the mould – then smashed it to smithereens. They are the Look of today, of this generation”. (1966:Spring, page 51).

Image 15

A traditional look from the fifties (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 52). “The Breakaways” feature shows a distinct change in style. v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 57). Colour image from “The Breakaways” v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 56).

Vogue New Zealand’s decade-long run was an important time in the history of New Zealand fashion. The magazine supported New Zealand’s developing fashion industry and connected Kiwi’s with the world of couture culture. Today, the preserved copies offer a fascinating record of this time and the changing fashions within it. Like many treasures at the Hocken, Vogue New Zealand offers us a glimpse into the past and tells us a story that is unique to New Zealand’s history. We encourage those who are interested by this magazine (or related material) to visit the library and view the items first-hand. Donations from the public are also welcomed; we are always looking for material that will enrich Dr. Hocken’s ever-growing collection.

Image 11

The Hocken’s collection of Vogue New Zealand to date.

References:

Hill, M. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue. New Zealand Journal Of History [Online] 45 (2), 274-275. Available from: MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 28th October 2015].

Sun Dash. (1959:Summer) Vogue New Zealand, 57.

Te Papa: Museum of New Zealand. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue [Online] Available from: http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/exhibitions/Pages/NZinVogue.aspx. [Accessed 28th October 2015].

The Breakaways. (1966:Spring) Vogue New Zealand 10 (3), 51.

Vogue Australia. (2011)  A decade of Vogue New Zealand. [Online] Available from: http://www.vogue.com.au/culture/whats+on/a+decade+of+vogue+new+zealand,12965.

[Accessed 29th Oct 2015].

 

Enquire Within

Thursday, October 29th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Megan Vaughan, Library Assistant – Publications

 

Huia butter

Huia butter advertisement (edition 3, p.5)

Addressed to the householder these booklets were distributed to subscribers in the 1930s and 1940s. The content ranges from household cleaning tips to reading tea leaves.

Hocken holds 12 Dunedin editions from the 30s and 40s, as well as a 1935 Auckland edition and a 1935 Wellington edition.

About half of the content is dedicated to advertising for local businesses such as Hallensteins, and Wolfenden and Russell.

Hallensteins

Hallensteins advertisement (inside back cover of 1st edition)

While the booklets themselves are not eye-catching the content offers an interesting, and sometimes amusing, insight into the minutiae of domestic life in 1930s and 40s New Zealand.

Recipes occupy a lot of space. Instructions for cooking asparagus (boil for 20 minutes!) (ed.1, p.14), curried sardines (ed.1, p.10), parsnip and turnip wines (ed.1, p.17), stuffed lettuce (ed.5, p.28), tripe (ed.7, p.8) and rusks (ed.7, p.28) are just a few of the recipes featured.

Cooking hints complement the recipes and include being able to tell the difference between fungi and mushrooms (ed.1, p.6), how to make your jelly set quickly using methylated spirits and a draught (ed.1, p.22), how to improve your coffee with a pinch of mustard (ed.4, p.34), and how to sweeten rancid fat (ed.2, p.26) rather than throwing it away.

RS Black and Son

RS Black & Son advertisement (edition 5, p.73)

Other household hints make heavy use of vinegar, lemon juice, salt and methylated spirits. A recipe for homemade floor polish finds a use for broken gramophone records (ed.4, p.36). Eggshells thrown into the copper made clothes very white (ed.2, p.22) and rusty ovens were clearly an issue as the solution of leaving the oven door open after use was repeated in many editions (e.g. ed.12, p.28).

Health remedies include tips such as placing a scraped potato on scalds (ed.1, p.26), using sage tea for a sore throat (ed.1, p.28), smoking blue gum leaves several times a day for asthma (ed.1, p.30), and shaving warts until they bleed before applying lunar caustic (silver nitrate) (ed.1, p.30). Billiousness was treated by drinking salty water and “nerves” were improved by numerous glasses of cold water and getting out of bed earlier (and a better attitude is implied!) (all in ed.1). It was recommended invalids be protected from visitors (e.g. ed.1, p.26).

Beauty tips included “cures” for numerous complaints ranging from scurf (aka dandruff: cured with kerosene, ed.3, p.48), dry skin, and baldness, to freckles (ed.1, p.32). Much of this content was repeated without variation throughout editions.

 

United Cash Orders

United Cash Orders advertisement (back cover of 5th edition)

Etiquette for occasions such as visiting, dining out and weddings is described in great detail. The dense lists for these sections contain some conventions still familiar today such as not reaching across your neighbour at the dinner table or spitting out bits of bone onto your plate (ed.2, p.4-6). Declining a dish at a meal was acceptable, but offering a reason was not (ed.2, p.4-6). Carrying a stick into someone’s drawing room was within the realm of good manners, but wielding an umbrella or wearing an overcoat was considered impolite (ed.2, p.4-6).

Conversation brought a whole raft of dos and don’ts: the familiar rules against interrupting and whispering are listed along with the recommendation you don’t talk about yourself or your maladies, or afflictions  (ed.2, p.4-6). It was advised when telling jokes to laugh afterwards, and not before! (ed.1, p.25).

Wolfenden and Russell

Wolfenden & Russell (edition 5, p.11)

Fortune telling appears to have been popular with many editions containing hints on reading tea leaves (e.g. ed.2, p56), and large sections of many booklets were dedicated to interpreting dreams (e.g. ed.1, p.54-62). One booklet includes a section that explains mole position and your resulting fortune: for e.g. a mole on the nose means success in everything, but on the left knee indicates an indolent, thoughtless and indifferent person (ed.2, p.58).

Enquire within also offers tips for motorists, hints for fixing common radio problem, advice for gardeners, meanings of a select few given names, and guidance on the care of animals.

 

 

The Dunedin Sound?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 8 Comments

Post by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and Audio-Visual

Dunedin Sound cabinet 2

The Dunedin Sound is a phrase used widely to describe a particular sound in independent music (most often on the Flying Nun label) that emerged from Dunedin in the 1980s. Currently, there are a number of people who claim ownership of the phrase ‘Dunedin Sound’, but it is commonly attributed to The Clean’s guitarist, David Kilgour, who uttered it in an interview. The phrase is contentious: many people deny there was ever such a thing as the ‘Dunedin Sound’, while others are adamant it existed. However, it is a convenient term to use when describing local bands from that era, in particular The Chills, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Bats, Look Blue Go Purple, and Sneaky Feelings – all bands that used (to a greater or lesser degree) an underlying  drone, or a jangly guitar in their sound. Dr. Graeme Downes (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with The Verlaines) argues that there is a ‘Dunedin Sound’, found in the songs themselves, within structural and compositional commonalities. Other factors fit too: isolation, the weather, and finding that their diverse inspirations all filtered through a similar mindset. The right time, and, crucially, the right place.

It has been argued the ‘Dunedin Sound’ began with The Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle EP (which was very popular, selling over 10,000 copies, and attaining the no. 4 place in the charts), and then continued with The Chills, the Stones, The Verlaines, and Sneaky Feelings (a.k.a The Dunedin Double), which is still a benchmark for local independent music – compilations such as Wellington’s Four Stars, and last year’s Fishrider Records compilation Temporary were heavily compared to it.

Dunedin Sound posters

The Hocken’s collections are rich in material from this music sub-genre, spread throughout our different collections – Posters and Ephemera include treasures such as one-off gig posters, such as these by the Magick Heads and Look Blue Go Purple, and invites to parties where the bands played; Garage, Hahaha, and Kahoutek zines all feature in-depth interviews with the musicians. Within the archives, a copy of Martin Phillipps’ recent oral history with Helen Frizzell resides, and the Xpressway papers are a mine of information about releases and careers of local musicians signed to the label (many formerly on Flying Nun). The accompanying Xpressway cassette collection was transferred to the published music collections, and these tapes include rare, and early, live recordings of bands and solo artists. There is research too – theses by Craig Robertson and Sian O’Gorman provide information on the bands and the music, as well as the creative scenes surrounding the musicians. Our publications hold books on New Zealand music that include the local scenes and profile the artists, and our music clippings files cover not only ‘Dunedin Sound’ bands and artists, but also the wider Dunedin music scenes and genres. The recorded music collection is richest in terms of the core of the ’Dunedin Sound’ – the actual recordings. We hold some of the hardest-to-find music releases because we collected them at the time of release, and, thus, have a collection deep in content. While not 100% comprehensive, original recordings and reissues are constantly being added to the collection – many new items purchased recently have been reissues. In addition, as part of the Audioculture function held at here on May 14th this year, we were generously gifted the original design for the initial Flying Nun logo (a one-eyed cherub holding an LP), a significant addition.

Dunedin Sound cabinet

 

Music is subjective: here are my 10 favourite ‘Dunedin Sound’ recordings in the Hocken’s music collections, between 1981 and 1996. How many of these do you know?

  • ‘The Dunedin Double’ EP (The Chills, The Verlaines, The Stones, Sneaky Feelings)
  • ‘Boodle Boodle Boodle’ EP (The Clean)
  • ‘Life in One Chord’ EP (Straitjacket Fits)
  • ‘Death and the Maiden’ single (The Verlaines)
  • ‘Pink Frost’ single (The Chills)
  • ‘Outer Space single’ (The 3Ds)
  • ‘Bewitched’ EP (Look Blue Go Purple)
  • ‘Snapper’ EP (Snapper)
  • ‘Randolph’s Going Home’ single (Shayne Carter and Peter Jeffries)
  • ‘A Timeless Piece’ EP (The Rip)

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that many of these bands and artists are still making records:  new Chills and Verlaines’ albums are coming, Shayne Carter has a new solo album out this year, and The Clean and The Bats have toured locally and internationally recently.

 

Travel back to the sixties and seventies with Autonews and Motorman magazines

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post prepared by Emma Scott, Library Assistant – Periodicals

We are very lucky at the Hocken Collections to be supported by many individuals that kindly decide to donate their material to us. One such donation that caught our attention last year was a large collection of motoring magazines from the late sixties and seventies. The donation included issues of Motorman, New Zealand Motorman and Autonews. These issues not only filled some gaps in our periodicals collection, they are also delightful to look at.

Motorman Cropped

Motorman: v.16:no.2 (1971:February)

 

1970 October cropped

 Autonews: v.4:no.6 (1970 October 12)

Autonews and Motorman contain detailed reports of races, rallies and drivers from all over New Zealand as well as overseas racing events which New Zealand drivers participated in.

Having been published in Dunedin, Autonews is an excellent resource for anyone looking at motoring in Otago and Southland from 1968 to 1974 as it covers local racing events as well as national ones.

Motoring enthusiasts will get a kick out of looking at the popular cars featured in both magazines. In 1970 Autonews  featured cars like the: Chevrolet Camaro, the Chrysler Valiant Hardtop Regal 770 V8, the Triumph 2000 Mark Two and the exciting “new” Holden Torana.

New Zealand Motorman’s 1974 issues feature cars like: Datsun 140J’GL’, the “new” Toyota Corona 1600, the Renault 17TL and the Aston Martin Lagonda

Dune buggy cropped

Autonews V.3:no.23 (1970 June 22)

Tired of a car that just gets you from a to b? V.3:no.23 (1970 June 22) of Autonews solves that problem with an article titled “The Case for the Dune Buggy” with the subheading: “what was born as a gimmick in the sixties is the answer to driving boredom in seventies”. The article goes on to describe a gentleman called John Ormrod, a fibreglass specialist who constructed his own dune buggy prototype from a wrecked Volkswagen which the author was lucky enough to take out for a spin. “The buggy was complete with lights, horn, wipers and current Warrant of Fitness so there was no sweat about driving it through the busy Auckland streets”.  It was quite the sight when it was driven down Auckland’s Queen Street: “We rumbled up to the traffic lights and everyone stood and stared.”

The author of the article was quite taken with the experience: “Maybe I’m an egotist but I liked driving a vehicle that people looked at. I liked having my head out in the air. I like pretending that I was Steve McQueen. I’d like a Dune Buggy”. “

For the woman of 1975 looking for a new car, the Ford Escort would be an excellent choice judging from the cover of the 1975 March issue of New Zealand Motorman and the front page of the article about the new Ford Escort.

1975 March cover cropped

New Zealand Motorman: 1975:March cover

 

Ford Escort cropped

New Zealand Motorman: 1975:March p15

New Zealand had many legendary drivers in the sixties and seventies. A lot of the drivers written about in the issues of Autonews and Motorman are now members of the New Zealand MotorSport Wall of Fame for their achievements, including: Graeme Lawrence, Jim Richards, David McMillan, Robert Francevic, Graham McRae and of course Bruce McLaren. The 1974:April – May issue of Autonews feature some of these drivers in their top ten New Zealand drivers list, perhaps not realising the lasting impact that they would have on New Zealand motorsport today.

Not only do we hold the magazines mentioned here, we also have subscriptions and receive regular donations of current motoring publications including: NZ4WD, New Zealand Autocar, Alfa News, New Zealand Performance Car, NZV8 and CATalogue : the newsletter of the Otago Jaguar Drivers Club Inc. If you are interested in motoring come along to the Hocken Collections and check them out!

References

Anderson, D. (1975, March 1). Ford’s Upgraded Range of New Escorts. New Zealand Motorman, 15-18.

The Case for the Dune Buggy. (1970, June 22). Autonews : New Zealand’s Motoring Magazine., 10-14.

MotorSport New Zealand. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://www.motorsport.org.nz/content/wall-fame

We Stick Our Necks Out and Grade the Men. (1974, April 1). Autonews : New Zealand’s Motoring Magazine., 7-12.

 

 

The musical heritage of war.

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wait till the clouds go by (2)Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian Music and Audio Visual

Music touches our lives in many ways, and often stays with communities and individuals for decades, even centuries after it was first written.  Sadly, this is not often the case with music written for, and around, The Great War of 1914-1918 (WWI). While British songs like “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” are still used frequently in film and television, and are in the public consciousness, many songs (both international and closer to home) have been forgotten. NZ written songs like “Call of the Southern Men”, “Haere Tonu” and “Thoughts” have disappeared from public and individual knowledge, but we are lucky sheet music has survived in collections both private and institutional. The Hocken Collections’ interesting WWI music sheets have been recently used for research, and are another way to view the narrative of war.

 

Many of the titles have been digitised, and are available to view and from Otago University’s OUR Heritage site http://otago.ourheritage.ac.nz/collections/show/60. More will be added in due course.

We have very little contextual information around some of these songs. Papers Past gives some information about the songs’ background and early performances. Some composer/lyricist information can sometimes be gleaned from military records if they served in the military. For example, the lyrics of Hampton Wood’s (H.W. Taman) “Keep On Keepin’ On”, subtitled “John Bull’s Advice for Those Who Can’t Go to the Front” suggest ways to help the war effort other than enlisting. Proceeds from sales went to the War Relief Fund, and the Prime Minister (William Massey) expressed the Government’s gratitude.

March of the Anzacs

Known as ‘The ‘March King of the Antipodes’, Alex Lithgow wrote “March of the ANZACs”. Lithgow was born in Scotland, lived in Launceston, Australia, but spent about 20 years in New Zealand, primarily in Invercargill. “March of the Anzacs” was an upbeat, sprightly march, no doubt intending to inspire a patriotic swell of pride in the hearts of all who heard it. The lithographed cover illustrates the troops landing at Kabatepe (although the actual landing occurred further north at Ari Burnu), and presents an early image of the ANZAC troops.

Haere Tonu (2)

Another treasure is “Haere Tonu: Maori War Song” by R.A. Horne and Ernest Hoben. The Press quoted the Christchurch Star’s view that the composition had caught the “true spirit and atmosphere of the haka”. The composer was the store manager of The Bristol Piano Company in Christchurch, and his advertisement prompted residents to call in to the store, where the song would be played for them. The lyrics (in both English and Maori) inspire patriotism, and encourage enlisting in the Expeditionary Forces, and looked to past Maori wars, as well as the current world war. “Haere Tonu” also had resurgence in the Second World War, associated with the 28th Maori Battalion.

Thoughts (2)“Thoughts: Dedicated to all who whose loved one have suffered in the war” by R.S Black, and A.H. Banwell was published in 1919, and is the opposite of the optimistic, militaristic, patriotic attitude that most WWI music presented. Banwell was a returning soldier, who served as Lance Corporal in Gallipoli, and Sergeant in Cairo, before being discharged in August 1915, diagnosed with neurasthenia. He returned to New Zealand and deserted from Trentham in 1918, and was court marshalled in 1920.The lyrics by Black were possibly influenced by Banwell’s wartime experiences. “Thoughts” is very bleak in tone, presenting a darker view of life in the midst of war.

When memory’s merely a tragedy sad

And life a “procession of years”…

Then naught seems left to the sore-stricken soul

But a bed in the cold, cold ground

The proceeds of the sale of Thoughts went to the Returned Soldiers Club in Dunedin.

 

Australian and British WWI-related sheet music also feature in collections. One Australian war song in particular is directed at women. “Mother of Men: Dedicated to the Mothers of the men of the Expeditionary Forces” by Tom Armstrong was straightforward in message, the song leaning heavily on the image of the soldier’s close relationship with his mother. Similarly, the British “Somewhere in France, Dear Mother”, written in 1915 by Arthur Leclerq and Jack O’Connor was another wartime song that gained longevity. A patriotic song designed to rally the masses, the song highlighted sentimentality and national pride, again focussing on maternal pride and love.

A mother in tears it’s the first time she hears

From her boy who is fighting in the war

Still full of pride she dries her eye

And soon forgets her pain

 

Your king and country want you (2)Another British song from the era that addresses women in a non-romanticised way is 1914’s “Your King and Country Want you: A Woman’s Recruiting Song” by Paul A. Rubens. This was a successful attempt to persuade more men to enlist for war, from the voice of a proud woman. Vocalist Vestra Tilley would perform the song at recruitment rallies, and men who failed to enlist at the end of the rally were given white feathers, symbolising cowardice, by children especially chosen for the task. Profits from the sale of 1914’s “Your King and Country Want You” went to Queen Mary’s Work for Women fund.

 

Amanda Mills

Fantastic Film posters from the Forties

Monday, February 16th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post prepared by Katherine Milburn, Liaison Librarian – Ephemera

MonkeyBusinessRecently, whilst moving the posters collection from the upstairs pictorial collections stack to new cabinets downstairs, a fantastic assortment of old Hollywood film posters was rediscovered. There are just over 60 posters ranging in date from the 1931 Marx Brothers’ film “Monkey Business” to the 1954 film “Saskatchewan”. They were all donated to the Hocken Library in 1976 and had belonged to William Strong of Naseby.

 

The Hocken Archives collection includes a collection of OurHeartsWilliam Strong papers [MS-1078], and these incorporate another set of Hollywood film posters from the 1940s and 1950s. William Strong was a watchmaker and jeweller who took over the watchmakers shop in Naseby opened by his father Robert in 1868.William was involved in a variety of local organisations, including the Naseby Cinema whose audience was likely drawn in by these enticing and colourful posters.

RunawayThe Hocken Posters collection included a fairly limited range of New Zealand related film posters until last year when a concerted effort to improve our holdings was made. Many posters have been sourced via online auction sites. Coverage includes the 1947 film “Green Dolphin Street”, which features a destructive New Zealand earthquake, and the 1964 film “Runaway”, that starred Colin Broadley along with Barry Crump, Kiri Te Kanawa and Ray Columbus.GreenDolphin

We continue efforts to improve our holdings of New Zealand film posters and ephemera and make them available to researchers of the New Zealand film industry.

Please ask at the downstairs reference desk or email Katherine.Milburn@otago.ac.nz if you have any inquiries relating to the posters and ephemera collection.

Celebrating audiovisual heritage

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Audiovisual and Music

Broken disc Hocken Collections

UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is held annually on October 27th to raise awareness of collections of audiovisual objects around the world in various institutions. While this celebratory day has passed, it is always advantageous to draw attention to the importance of audiovisual collections and to their fragility.

It is worth remembering that audiovisual materials are very important primary records of the 20th and 21st century. Countless major historical moments of the last 100 years have been captured in film, or on sound recordings. Many of these recordings are now iconic, for example footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

Edison blue amberol cylinder. Hocken Collections; uncatalogued.

However, much audiovisual material has been lost, or is in danger of disappearing. Purposeful destruction, decay and obsolescence of format, and neglect are some of the factors that contribute to much of this cultural loss. The theme for the 2014 World Audiovisual Heritage Day was “Archives at risk: Much more to do”. Audiovisual collections are often at risk because of the inherent fragility of the materials used : all audiovisual heritage is endangered.

Damaged shellac 78rpm disc.

In New Zealand,audiovisual collections are held in many institutions, including the Hocken Collections, and the Alexander Turnbull Library. Preservation programmes are undertaken to ensure the survival of these precious items, though often these are hampered by lack of resources. Audiovisual digitisation and preservation is highly skilled and labour intensive work. But the collections that are in the care of institutions, archives and libraries are highly valued and we do our best. Apart from preserving sound and images for the future digitisation can improve access to AV collections. Many people know of their existence, but often not the depth of the collections. Making digital copies available online brings them to a new audience.Broken disc Hocken Collections

The Hocken Collections has many different formats of audiovisual material. Formats such as cylinder, open reel tape (ORT), and 16mm film are challenging to for us to digitise, as suitable equipment is often difficult to source. Film reels are a precious source of historical content and information, and we have very pleased to have preserved the Hocken’s motion picture films with the help of the local Film Heritage Trust. A sound format that presents interesting preservation issues is the 16” transcription disc – turntables need be larger than usual and require a longer tonearm to accommodate the disc size. Rare and unique material is part of the Hocken’s collection, and we are currently building our capacity to care for this material using the highest standards and best practice.

The images presented here include three broken 78rpm discs that we have in our collections, though they have been removed from circulation! The was cylinder is not broken. They are all extremely fragile, and care is required in handling them. This is only one example of how delicately balanced the preservation of audiovisual material can be, and how vulnerable the content and the carrier (formats) are.