GARAGE #2 1985

GARAGE #1 1985 (cover), RICHARD LANGSTON, Editor

  • All six issues of Garage (1985-1987) were posted at the Flying Nun blog between July 2011 and December 2011.
  • We previously highlighted Richard Langston’s memoirs at the Flying Nun Records blog from 7/5/11, but here they are again: “I thought I’d write about them [early 80’s bands in Dunedin], but in a way that was the antithesis of everything required of me as a journalist working for the daily press – I didn’t want fairness and balance – I wanted the tone to be fevered. I wanted it to bark like a rabid dog about the joys of the music we were hearing. I wanted it to be amateur.  I wanted it to be slightly unhinged. All my wishes – for better or worse- came true.
  • But it would also serve a purpose I wasn’t even aware of when we got out the typewriter, heavy black marker pen, glue, and staples and set to work. The first issue was a pimply 18 pages, a photocopied run of bugger all. But by number six, the final issue, we were printing more than a thousand, and selling in London, Germany, the mid-West, and The East Coast. They lapped us up overseas.
  • You have to remember this was pre-Internet, you couldn’t read about an obscurity on a blog and then have it materialize before your eyes and ears on YouTube. It’s difficult to convey how isolated we were. The British music weeklies arrived by ship three months late.  There was one music programme on television. One.  It was such an event for the hour it screened each Sunday night many marked the occasion by getting stoned to watch it.
  • Conversely for people overseas trying to find out about New Zealand music – they probably had a better chance of finding a stray piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We fired our tiny information dart into the stratosphere more in hope than anything, but we did find readers. We knew we did because people wrote to us from all over and sent us their records to review. Through the postbox they came from Ohio, Scandinavia, Essex, New York.
  • We become part of a network of fanzines and magazines dedicated to reporting on the margins of music – B-Side and Distant Violins in Australia, Bucketful of Brains (England), Forced Exposure and Conflict on the USA’s East coast, the K Label – home of the Calvin Johnson and Beat Happening – out of Olympia Washington, and Option down in Los Angeles. We traded news and records like the obsessives we were.
  • We were in our mid- twenties and we had the time and the life. Living was cheap as chips. Between bouts of paying work on newspaper and radio, I worked on Garage. We lived with friends who owned their own home – a high-ceilinged drafty villa on the flats of St Kilda.  When the stereo wasn’t blasting we could hear the sea. In the room where we slept and worked there was only a wall of rough boards between us and the weather.  In winter I typed and glued and stapled in a coat and balaclava. It was the concentrated work of a medieval monk in numbing cold.”

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