Sunday 08 January 2023 – Leytonstone, London.
Eleanor came back to bed with the morning’s first ‘coffee in bed’ coffee with the news that there had been a not quite record shaped parcel left for me outside the front door this morning, perhaps it was left last night, who knows. Nevertheless it was on the doorstep before 8:00am on this miserable grey damp Sunday morning and I had an inkling as to what it was; mainly because I don’t actually have any records on order at the moment. I was a little excited but played it cool, drinking that first coffee while mindlessly scrolling Twitter in between casually looking at pictures of dining room tables that Eleanor showed me.
When it seemed like an appropriate amount of time had passed; and a new table had been chosen, I took the cups and headed back downstairs to make the second coffee. As soon as the first pod was in the machine and the milk frother was frothing I ripped open the package and there it was, in all its, slightly damaged on one corner, glory; Matt Goody’s epic history of Flying Nun Records 1981-1988, ‘Needles and Plastic’. I have been waiting for this book to be published and released in the UK for quite some time.
Matt contacted me via Instagram in May 2021 regarding some photos I had uploaded to social media of Flying Nun bands from gigs I attended in the 80s. He said he was writing a book about Flying Nun Records and asked if he could use those photos and whether I had any more. I, of course, said yes, then caveated this with my usual lack of self-confidence, by saying they were probably not good enough for a book but he was welcome to use them if he liked.
The good news was he did like, and I was excited to find this morning there are a number of my photos in the book. The book is a weighty tome, an encyclopaedia-like review of every Flying Nun release from 81-88, when the label moved from Christchurch to Auckland. 1981-1985 were prime gig going years for me and bands on this New Zealand record label put on shows that I frequently attended; I now regret not taking my camera to more of them.
The label is highly regarded, probably more so globally than it is at home, and it’s first few years saw some fabulous, influential and very collectable records released; it still releases fabulous records, and I have quite a few of them in my collection.
The book was released at the end of last year in New Zealand and the US; to rave reviews and I jealously watched on social media as Matt undertook a tour of New Zealand’s main centres promoting the book alongside some of my favourite writers and Flying Nun musicians. What makes this book more unusual is Matt is Canadian and still lives in Canada, he just happened to fall in love with Flying Nun Records from afar. Like so many others of us have.
There has been an element of sadness with the release of the book, Hamish Kilgour, the drummer with seminal band The Clean, as well as a number of other groups, tragically took his own life just before Christmas. This meant there was only record to play as I opened the book for the first time, The Cleans first 12 inch record ‘Boodle, Boodle, Boodle’. This has been made a sadder affair as Hamish is the one standing up on the cover of the book.
Having my photos printed in a book is really special for me, unexpectedly special I will add, and I really appreciated Matt making contact. Here are a couple of phone snaps of some of my photos in the book.
It’s not something I talk about much but I have a ‘thing’ about legacy, an unhealthy obsession with leaving something behind; other than my children of course. This obsession with legacy is balanced by completely lacking self confidence, hopeless will power and an overall laziness, brought on in some part by that lack of self confidence. I know I’m not a bad photographer and I know I can string words together coherently if I put in the effort and I know I could have, or could still do something with those skills, but something always prevents me from doing so. Maybe this is a start of a new phase , though at least the pressure to leave something tangible behind is gone.
I still have the camera I took those photos on, I just wished it still worked!